December 30th, 2015  |  Leave a comment

Billy Flynn, Kate Mansi, Stephen Nichols & Mary Beth Evans Interview – Days of our Lives

Photo Credit: NBC

When one looks back at 2015 in the world of soaps, it will be remembered for the DAYS renaissance as it prepared to celebrate its 50th anniversary.  With beloved returns, very dark drama, and love stories within them, the long-running NBC series found a new rhythm while honoring its past, while making changes in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes to usher in the new.

DAYS launched two storylines that have become watercooler moments for the year that gave viewers thrills, chills, despair, tears, and ultimately showed the power of love.  When Stephen Nichols came back to DAYS as Steven “Patch” Johnson, fans were over the moon.  Next, came the highly-awaited return of Peter Reckell as Bo Brady.  With these two icons back in Salem, it set the stage for Patch to finally reunite with his “sweetness”, Kayla (Mary Beth Evans), but also for this all-time super-couple to say goodbye to Bo, who died suddenly after it was discovered he was living on borrowed time.  The work in those scenes of Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans was daytime television at its finest.  They were saying goodbye to not only Bo, but working with their longtime scene partner, Peter Reckell.

Meanwhile, DAYS embarked on a harrowing journey in the mind of a serial killer, something they have had success with in the past, and so for the 50th they delivered that story again, but this time with a twist.  The talented young series leads of Billy Flynn, and Kate Mansi were front and center stage.  When head writers Josh Griffith and Dena Higley decided to make Abigail’s fiancé Ben Weston (Rob Scott Wilson) the Necktie Killer, it was the perfect way to set up Chad and Abby as the next super couple.  Fearless performance after performance, Billy Flynn, and Kate Mansi, and Wilson help made this tragic tale gold.

On-Air On-Soaps sat down for this special year-end honors roundtable interview with Billy, Kate, Stephen, and Mary Beth to discuss: the most emotional and shocking storylines of the year they were a part of, their heartbreaking and difficult scenes, what makes a great super-couple and how they work with each, and if 2016 on DAYS will be just as riveting as the last few months have been.  Here’s our candid conversation with Billy, Kate, Stephen and Mary Beth.  Oh, and Happy New Year from all of us!

MICHAEL:

The four of you were involved in the most shocking and most emotional storylines of 2015, and truly two of the most-talked about of the year.  Your performances helped make DAYS the Best Soap of the Year from August to December.  I’m speaking of Bo’s death, and Patch and Kayla’s loss and relationship within it, and the Chad/Abby/Ben and Necktie serial killer story.  These arcs changed the face of DAYS, where previously it felt like the show was delivering often pedantic soap storytelling.  These shook things up.   So, when you opened the script during the taping of these storylines, or anything you had to play this year, what were you most surprised to find out that was going to happen?

MARY BETH:

Courtesy/NBC

I bet Kate had that a bunch!

KATE:

Almost every time I opened a script … but I think everybody had that attitude.  It was like a go-for-the-ride feeling when I would open the script, but there was a sense of adventure, and excitement to every scene we got.

MARY BETH:

I think what everybody alluded to when they were giving speeches at the DAYS Christmas party was all of us were a 100% all-in.  I know I would hear Kate/Rob and Billy rehearsing scenes in their room, and Stephen and I would be working in our rooms.  For all of us, there was no phoning it in.  I will just say, from Stephen and my parts; we have so much history having been here and there since 1986.  The story with Peter Reckell that we told was life and art melding together.  I so relate to the brotherly story with him, although you have heard me joke many times that Peter is really older than me! (Laughs)

KATE:

It was all great.  We felt like we were going in for battle everyday in a good way.  I just want to say to Mary Beth and Stephen, just to speak to what you have created together as a couple, and as they wrote it, the writers allowed for you to have individual reactions to Bo’s death, as well as supporting one another.  It was so cool.

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BILLY:

For me, the one that shocked me when I opened the script was the scenes that aired recently with Chad being brainwashed by Andre (Thaao Penghlis).

KATE:

That was a shocker!

BILLY:

Other than that, for me I loved the love story that Kate and I were given to tell.  I was just waiting for a script that Chad and Abby would have that happy moment. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Stephen, it was so great to have you back on DAYS.  It was one of the biggest returns of the year.  Then to have you play those scenes with Peter Reckell and Mary Beth was just so gut-wrenching.

STEPHEN:

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Coming back to DAYS was one thing, but coming back and finding these gifts, in the scripts that you were mentioning, was material we had not seen in awhile.  We would see them back in the 80’s sometimes, and the last time we were back.  But this time around the writers seem to be coming up with new and interesting stuff that doesn’t seem so pedantic, as you said, and not so much like the typical soap opera formula.

MARY BETH:

One thing I want to say is, the writers didn’t bring Stephen back, and make us replay the story that we did before.  They brought us back as mature people in a mature relationship, and exploring what is our paths, and the obstacles facing them now.

MICHAEL:

Can we speak about Rob Scott Wilson as the serial killer, and how that really changed everything!  It allowed the writers to truly create the Abby and Chad love story as a star-crossed couple to root for.  It was a game-changer, and a shrewd move.

KATE:

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It was!  Ben came on the canvas, and nobody knew what to do with the character.  This was even the case when Ben was being played by Justin Gatson.  And then, Rob was kind of frustrated, because he did not know what they were going to do with Ben’s story, either.  Meanwhile, they had Ben, Abby and Chad kind of circling around each other.  Once it came to fruition that Rob was the killer, I think there was this magical moment where he really transformed into that, and embraced it.  I think it created a momentum for the three of us to jump off of, because not one is perfect in that triangle.  It was equally messy and wrong on all three accounts.  Abby should not have been sleeping with Chad.  She should not have been showing up lying to Ben, and so I think this is how something like this kind of happens, and for the audience it felt real, in a way.  I thought that was made this storyline very special.

STEPHEN:

Kate, I’m interested to know: were these things that you saw in the script, or was this something you and the other two actors created, or discovered while working together?

KATE:

Courtesy/KMansiInstagram

I think a little of both.  I think there was a choice.  I would read a script sometime that would say “Abby goes home to Ben after just being with Chad.”  She would then say to Ben, “What do you mean?  Chad just touched my face.  C’mon, we’re engaged.  Get over it.  I’m choosing you!”  Meanwhile I’m thinking if my boyfriend said that to me that wouldn’t really fly!  I had to say, how do we make this truthful then?   Chad and Abigail had this gravitational pull to one another that you can’t help but deny.  But then that made Abigail a liar, and a cheat.  But that is not who the character was, but this was about Chad and Abigail’s love that was bigger than them, in a sense.

STEPHEN:

That is what is required.  You don’t get anywhere in this medium, unless you go deeper, and this is what these kids did … they just went deeper.

MICHAEL:

I want to know how each of you went through and were able to handle these consistently emotional, riveting scenes you had to play.  It had to be draining, and I would assume it was difficult not to take that home with you.

BILLY:

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Yeah, you definitely take it home with you, but I was fortunate enough to start the journey with Kate.  I had a connection with her from day one.  There was never a moment where I felt like I was really working.  I just had to look at her eyes and connect. Yes, there is a process that goes into it, but I never felt it was difficult, because I always felt comfortable working with her.

MICHAEL:

Stephen, the scene that broke my heart the most, was Patch in the park with Bo after learning his best friend is dying.  When I spoke to Peter about them, he got very emotional just talking about it.  Did you watch the scenes back?

STEPHEN:

I did watch it back.  I don’t know what to say except it was a heavy moment that the one person who means the most to you, other than Kayla, is about to die, and there is nothing I can do about it.  So walking into that park, and seeing Bo, and having to confront that and face him, and have him tell Patch for sure that this is what is happening, it was really hard to do.  However, it was also a great thing to be able to play, too.

KATE:

Oh, my God.  I rewound that scene over and over again!

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MICHAEL:

Also, viewers got to see the emotional Patch, just not the tough guy Patch, and that is something only you can bring to the table in the manner in which you do! 

KATE:

But you know what was so great about those scenes?  It felt really private.  I remember watching the scenes.  Stephen was still Patch being strong for Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and Kayla. They wrote it so you could have a private moment as two boys relating to each other.  I think that was a new side that kind of stunned all of us to see.  It was really powerful.

MICHAEL:

I even recall the day of Bo’s funeral.  Patch comes into the Brady Pub, and Patch was so overcome just telling the family that the car is here to go to the funeral, and he just broke down.   It felt so real to me that this is something that would really happen, if I was about to bury a loved one, or a family member.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

KATE:

There was a heaviness to it.

MARY BETH:

We were again all in, and really living that, and committed to it.  From a vanity viewpoint, I looked awful through all of it.  It was not like your lipstick is in tact and everything looks beautiful.  I let it just be where there are bags under the eyes, because that is how it would be in real life.

STEPHEN:

I always hate seeing people in hospital beds, and the make-up and the hair is perfect on soaps.  I hate that!

KATE:

Me too!  I said it’s HD, and I don’t want anything on my face. In the Brady Pub scenes that Billy and I shot …

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MARY BETH:

…. Oh, with the chocolate shakes?  I loved those scenes …

KATE:

…  Yes, and Billy was similarly trying to be strong for me, like Patch was for the family, but there was a necessary ruggedness to it.  I have to be honest, I felt daring to show my face like that.  It is a weird thing to go on camera without make-up.  I felt naked and exposed, and it allowed me to just go for it.  You know you look like s**t, but you don’t care. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Billy, you had a lot of high stakes moments such as the bloody fight with Ben at Ben’s apartment that landed Chad in a coma.  There was also the cabin fire where Chad goes to save Abigail.  What did you think about those key scenes?

BILLY:

The fight scenes were fun.  Rob and I had a good time doing them.  But, the fire scene was difficult.  You had these moments in the storyline that Chad has to hit.  He has to break in to the cabin, and then Chad and Abby had to be tied to a bed.  Now, how do you get there?  I felt sort of crippled in a way in that storyline as the hero.  He comes in and gets hit, you know.  That was my personal manly viewpoint on it, but I think it turned out well.  As to what Kate was saying about the milkshake scenes … those were some of my favorites, too!

KATE:

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I remember you struggling with it, but I think the reason why was because of the character.  I would say to Billy: “You are the hero!  You literally break down the door, and you save me!  What’s the question?” (Laughs)  But Chad does in the end save Abigail.

BILLY:

I was watching the screener of the motion picture Room, and in the story that mother and son were trapped in that room for several years.  It’s an interesting story on who really saves who.  So my analogy is that on DAYS, I think it’s more deep down that Abby saves Chad, than Chad saves Abby.

MARY BETH:

Oh, that’s interesting.  I like that!

MICHAEL:

Mary Beth, the scene everyone was also talking about when it aired and still now, was the scene where Kayla tells Bo he is dying of a brain tumor.  I can only imagine how difficult those scenes were for you to play. 

MARY BETH:

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That was rough.  I have such a history with Peter.  I am kind of a big fan of heartfelt stories.  Those are my favorite things to play here.  I connect to that, more than cerebral things.  I understand heart things.  Peter and I have always had great scenes together, and always connected and had good material.  I found the whole thing kind of heartbreaking.  I am married to a doctor, and he has to sometimes deliver bad news to people.  He has to get down to saying the facts.  So with Peter as Bo, I really tried for Kayla to say the facts without being a blubbering idiot.  For Kayla, part of the problem is to be the strong one for the Brady clan.  There is no Frank Parker (Ex-Shawn) anymore, and there is the mom, and all of these family members coming at you.  She has to be a strong person, but she is a mess, because Bo is her baby brother!

STEPHEN:

Mary Beth, you played it so well!  You were giving him the facts, but underneath you could barely contain your heartbreak.

MARY BETH:

The one part of the scene I loved is when Bo got up to leave, and Kayla stands up and says, “OK, we won’t talk about this anymore.  I just want to be with you.”  And to me, when I read it in the script it was kind of heartbreaking.

KATE:

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Those are the kind of scenes, when you read it in the script, and you cry, and then go, “Oh, I don’t want to study that!”

MARY BETH:

I remember doing the scenes with Peggy McCay (Caroline) during the Alzheimer’s disease storyline.  I could not get through rehearsals, because I love Peggy so much!  This all kind of weaves together, because this is all of our family, too.

MICHAEL:

How much of what we have seen in the storylines is your interpretation, or tweaks in the script, as opposed to what is written on the page for you?

KATE:

I think no one knows your character better than you.  It is about the words, and the story.  I always do this in rehearsal with myself … if you can do the scene without any words and get to the heart of it, then you know what the scene is about.  I feel everybody naturally clicked into that, because of the writing you opened the script, and it was there.

STEPHEN:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

As Kate said, the scriptwriters who have all these characters to write for do an amazing job.  We have one character to be responsible for.  They know that about us, and they allow us to bring what we can into the story.  If you have good actors to work with, who are doing the same thing, then it’s gold.

MARY BETH:

Stephen and I will run, and run, and run a scene together.  When we go out on set, I will say to Stephen, “Look at me for a second.”  We will make eye contact, and then bring it all down and just connect, and just listen to each other, just be there for each other.  That is why certain couples really work.  That’s why Billy and Kate work … why Stephen and I work.

MICHAEL:

Billy, what have you thought of the fan reaction to Chabby?  They have become quite the “It” couple of DAYS in 2015!

BILLY:

It’s kind of an honor.  The soap fans are the hardest to win over in the industry, and when you have a bunch of them rooting for you, and your love story in particular, it’s awesome!   It means you are doing something right.  People feel, and see the connection.  They think it’s honest, and truthful, and that is great.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Corday Productions

MICHAEL:

Kate, they have had Abby with a lot of different guys in her short adult like.  What is up with that? (Laughs)   But, it looks like Chad is the one that will stick.

KATE:

I know, I’m such a whore! (Laughs)  You would think for someone who was a virgin until she was 20-something … (Laughs).  Abby is always searching to fill that void in her.  Even back when Casey Deidrick played Chad, it clicked but it was different.  It’s like when you are in a relationship, and you know there is so much good there, but the timing is off.  Then later you see your ex-boyfriend, and five years have gone by, and the next thing you know you’re together.  It felt like this time with Billy and I both at DAYS the timing was really right for our characters to be together, also.  It just really worked.

MICHAEL:

Nothing in 2015 was more touching then when after the Bo had died on-air, Stephen sent out on social media a message to Peter Reckell that read: “Goodbye Pete. We have laughed, fought, rescued, loved, and grown together.  It has been a glorious journey.  Glad we shared it!  Love you, Bro.  Stephen. ”   It was so beautiful, and heartfelt.  You clearly felt the loss for Patch, and for yourself.

STEPHEN:

Courtesy/SNichoolsFacebook

To have someone that was so important to the show expire, was major.  I don’t think it would have happened this way if I hadn’t been on the show, and participated in the scenes with Peter, and felt that brotherhood with him.  You know, surviving yet another plane crash. (Laughs)  The level of the work on everybody’s part this time around was so much better.  We were challenging each other, and inspiring each other in a way I had not seen in a long time.

MICHAEL:

Peter was so great in his return.  Truly some of the greatest performances I have ever seen him give as Bo.  He was emotionally raw, and right there in the moment with all of you, and it caused such a ripple effect.

STEPHEN:

It was his best work ever!

KATE:

And how great that we are having this conversation … and how great Kristian Alfonso (Hope) was and how great Daniel Cosgrove (Aiden) was!   It was a great time here.

MARY BETH:

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A lot of time viewers will write, “I can’t believe they did this, or that!”  Yes, it’s a drag, but the story that it makes all around ups everybody’s game.  In Peter’s case, he wanted to be home with his daughter.  It can’t be too sad, because this was Peter’s choice, but it brought this incredible vehicle for everybody to work with.

MICHAEL:

Throughout 2015, as part of this wave of shocking and emotional story beats, DAYS lost a lot of cast members who were killed off as casualties of story.  Actors had commented it was difficult watching the monitors in the make-up room watching co-stars last scenes airing, or being taped.  How did that affect you?

KATE:

It’s impossible for that not to seep into your life a little bit.  I did not see the scenes with Peter till they aired, but I knew when Mary Beth walked off set, I knew what was going on.  It felt like we were all on a team.  It was like “Tag, you’re in,” as in a very supportive way.

BILLY:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

It was sad, because a lot of people worked really hard.  Selfishly, I was glad it wasn’t me, or anybody else in my story.  It’s very unfortunate with Rob, because the three of us did a lot of very cool stuff together at the end.  You know if you are the killer, you know something is going to happen, and you may not be on the show any longer.  I honestly did not know a lot of the people that well that got killed off, because I am the new guy on the block.  I think what was emotional for me was seeing Stephen and Mary Beth go through those experiences on-screen.  Their relationship is so tangible that they had with Peter.  I had such empathy for them.  They were just so good, and you are witnessing legends working hard, and that is what got me.

MICHAEL:

Now we have Ava Vitali (Tamara Braun) back, just as Patch and Kayla are finally together!

MARY BETH:

I just said to Stephen, “We barely get this happy family for one minute, and then comes Ava!”   I want to add, I didn’t watch the show for a number of years, but I have been now, and the reason is that I am tuning in to watch is Billy and Kate’s story.  I was so riveted by it.  And then you had Rob in one of those scenes in the cabin holding the baby saying, “Bye, bye momma!”  So good!

KATE:

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You know that is another perfect example of what I have been saying … in that line when Rob and I read it, he said, “I don’t know.  I’m not going to say this.” (Laughs)  Now, we all as actors do this kind of thing.  I sat with Rob and I said, “What do I always tell you?”  I have a rule that Meryl Streep said once that I read: “The word that you want to take out and resist the most is the key that unlocks the character, and you have to say it.”  For instance, I had this scene where my character has to say, “Weeeeee!”  I said, “No one talks like that unless you are five!” (Laughs)  But then I thought, wait maybe there is a childish part of this I need to embrace.  Rob took the line, “Bye, bye momma” or whatever the line actually was, and we were doing some improv to find our way to the key to that line.  Now when he said the line, it still makes me nauseous to think about.  So many people have commented on that scene.  Rob was so good.  He owned it.  It is sad when you see people leaving.  Truth be told, Rob was honored to have them write what they did for him.  He is a terrific actor.

BILLY:

Rob was honored to have the part he had.  It was sad to see him go, but the gift that he gave to the show, and that the show kind of gave to him within the writing was so cool to see.  Sometimes it can get tough in a genre like this.  You have to try to be inspired, or to try something new, or tell the same story in a different way.   For me watching and working with Kate, she is always bringing something new, and is inspiring.  But yes, inspiration is hard sometimes to find on a show like this.  Being inspired is so cool, like when you see Stephen whip out a harmonica in a scene!  That is just rad.  It almost then gives you freedom as a young actor to go, “I can play with stuff like that, too!”  It works.

MICHAEL:

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Stephen, do you think everyone has evolved and grown as actors during this heavy period of storytelling during DAYS 50th anniversary run?  What’s your take on it when you look at the show now?

STEPHEN:

For me, I have been around a long time, and there have been periods of time I lost my passion for this.  I can only get it back if I’m in a situation where I’m working with actors who I respect and inspire.   Somehow I cannot inspire myself like I could when I was younger.  I need to be in a place where there is an environment where people are inspired, and challenging each other, and tag teaming.  I could have come back here and it could have been a total nightmare, but it wasn’t.   I’m having a great time.  I am inspired, and I have a passion for this again.

MICHAEL:

All right, off the top of your head, what was your favorite moment/scene in your storylines in 2015?

MARY BETH:

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I really loved something that I thought was going to be really crappy.  And that was being locked in a cleaning supply closet with each other.  When Stephen and I read this we were like, “Oh, God!  What are we going to do with this?”  But it ended up so cute, and so sweet, and the love that Patch showed for Kayla was adorable.

STEPHEN:

Yes, I think it was my favorite scene, too.  I think we were most free in those scenes in the supply closet.

MARY BETH:

So I’m torn.  Yes, all the Peter stuff was moving and emotional, but I like to laugh! You just snort some ammonia, and you’re good to go! (Laughs)

BILLY:

I loved the milkshake scene, and also where Chad and Abby are just laying in bed.   It was so nice to have a resolution of the two characters, and it came off as honest and truthful.  To have it appear that way makes those my favorite moments.

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KATE:

My answer changes as time goes by.  I have been on here for five years, and in 2015 I felt I really met Abigail.  I never wanted to have a kid on the show, selfishly.  I thought it was going to screw up my lines, and I would be arguing with a baby, but I was surprised by the way I felt when she gave birth to Thomas.  Abby fought for him while Ben had us hostage.  I can’t tell you how many times I left the studio and called my mom.   It’s so simple, but it makes you realize once you are a mother, the only thing that matters is your child.  I had no idea what it was like to be a parent, but in the middle of all of that chaos, once you are a parent, you are a parent forever.  I tapped into that and it makes me weep when I think about sometimes.  When you are a kid you are a kid forever.  I look at my 50-something year-old mom who looks at her mother and still needs to be held, and needs to be a kid, and vice-versa.  For that enlightenment alone, I was really grateful to have that perspective through my work at DAYS.

MICHAEL:

So, while you were going through your storylines, did you feel the shift in the show and that it was firing on all cylinders?  Do you feel that DAYS can continue this way well into 2016?

MARY BETH:

I think the next six months that are going to air are really exciting in story for all of us.  So much happens!

STEPHEN:

Since we were here before, and over a 30-year period (this is my third time back), I think this is the time where I have seen more people engaged, and who want to do a good job than ever before.

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KATE:

Stephen is right.  It has been inspiring all around.  You feel that and it is contagious.

BILLY:

I started to see the shift when we geared up for the 50th anniversary.  I think now what we are doing six months later is even better than that.  It’s reached a level where everybody is so good.  It feels like a real show.  Yes, there is this brainwashing, and all of this crazy stuff happening, but for my storyline I found such a rhythm with Kate, and it was the best possible story to be a part of.  I was honored to be a part of the 50th, but since then I think everything has even expanded from that, and gotten even better, and is even more special to me.

MICHAEL:

I have said this before, but six months to a year ago, I could barely get through an episode of DAYS, and it became difficult to write about, too.  Then this fall I became engrossed.  I liked the darkness of the show.  It separated it from the pack.  Now while there are a few story points I don’t agree with, which is for another place and time, it became must-see daytime TV again.

KATE:

Photo Credit: InLikeBillyFlynnInstagram

I think there is something cathartic in it.  We all face the darkness, and Abby and Chad, and Patch and Kayla, they had darkness, but they had this wonderful playfulness and lightness, and it’s real and inspiring.  I think for the first time in five years, the show is telling complicated, and compelling, and very real stories.

MICHAEL:

What can you say about the DAYS Fans, who have been so supportive of you this year, and every year, and who have hung in there while the show was finding its footing?

MARY BETH:

They really have hung in there.  They have been amazing on our book tour, and at the Day of DAYS event.  It was such a fun year, because of the 50th.   It’s neat to get out and see all of these people, because we would not have a chance to see them otherwise.  It was trippy.  Stephen really loves the fans, and he is amazing.  He knows all of their names!

STEPHEN:

I love the fans, and this book tour was great for me to get back out there and see everyone again.  I had not done that in a very long time.  In Pigeon Forge, Tennessee some of these people waited in line for hours and hours.  I did not see one person complain, or say anything nasty, or be mean.  There were people in wheelchairs, and on canes.  I just couldn’t believe how dedicated they were.  I love them so much, and we would not be here without him.

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KATE:

I feel the same, and echo what Stephen said.   We truly would not be here without the fans.

MICHAEL:

Billy, you were like a rock star when traveling on the DAYS book tour.  I saw it first hand.  Fans were screaming, and ecstatic to see you, and meet you!

BILLY:

I think I was half of a rock star.

STEPHEN:

You were a full rock star, baby!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

MARY BETH:

You were the “Cha” in the “bby”!   (Laughs)

BILLY:

That book tour was the first moment since I started the show, and as a new actor where, I know this sounds cheesy, but I felt it was like that, “I’ve arrived” moment.  And, to be there with Stephen, and Mary Beth, and Kate, who fought for me to get this part, was very special.  Kate is one of the main reasons I’m here today.  For the fans to like my work is so awesome, and it was really cool.  It makes me kind of emotional thinking about it that.  I’m speechless.

KATE:

Billy, it wasn’t me who got you the part, it was well-earned.  But thank you.

MARY BETH:

Billy, Stephen, and I have been best friends for 29 years.  He stood up and told the producers he wanted me for the part of Kayla, as well.

STEPHEN:

Photo Credit: OfficialNicholsInstagram

She finished her audition.  She walked off and said, “That was s**t.”  I chased her down and said, “No, it was not s**t. (Laughs)

MARY BETH:

Besides all of that, Stephen and I have remained such good friends. We have worked together many times, and on different shows.  We also had many times when we weren’t working together.  But we always stayed connected in personal lives, too. And to Billy and Kate, I encourage you two to do that, because Stephan and I just have the sweetest friendship, and we absolutely love each other.  What all four of us have created has been very special, and hopefully it will endure in our own lives for years to come.

  1. Liz K says:

    Thanks so much for this interview Michael. I love hearing all of the actors’ takes on each other’s work. So different, and cool. And Mary Beth cracked me up with her comment to Billy “You put the Cha in bby”
    LOL. These 4 actors really did such great work in 2015 and get me excited to watch the show (especially Steve and Kayla). Here’s to more wonderful scenes in 2016!

    Reply

  2. Kar says:

    Amazing interview

    Reply

  3. 4ever DAYS says:

    Great interview!!!!

    Billy rocks. They all rock. And DAYS rocks!

    Reply

  4. Alicia says:

    I’m so in love with these four, and their characters. They are truly making Days what it is today and I cannot wait to see where it goes from here. I’m so glad to have Billy playing Chad whether Kate had anything to do with it or not, he’s absolutely perfect, and I would love to see more interviews with these four. They crack me up!!

    Reply

    maddiehayes replied

    ITA, it was so great to have these 4 particular actors in an interview together, because it’s like Steve&Marybeth passing on the torch of supercoupledom to the newest supercouple, Billy&Kate. Chabby is the closest thing DAYS has had to an old-fashioned super couple in many years. They have the angst, the longing, the LOVE that will withstand all obstacles. That’s what I used to love about DAYS, their super couples always ended up back together. There was none of that “love the one you’re with” attitude I’ve seen too often lately. I would like to add, the offscreen loving friendship that Steve & Marybeth have is truly inspiring and makes Steve&Kayla come alive with the joy they apparently get from just working together. I see the makings of that in Billy & Kate, as well.

    Reply

    Kris replied

    What’s going to happen if Kate’s leaving? I don’t know that she is, but speculation’s out there that she might be leaving.

    Would you have Days recast the role of Abby and hope that the new actress has a spark with Billy?

    I just wondered what you’d wish for if Kate is going to leave when her contract is up.

    Recast? Or have Chad fall for someone new?

    I’m thinking a recast might be the way to go. But it would have to be a very good one.

    maddiehayes replied

    Wow Kris, if that’s true that Kate’s leaving, then I sure hope DAYS reunites Chad & Abby asap and gives them a big wedding. Lots of happy time together before she leaves. Because you’re right, a recast would not have the same chemistry. But the best way to do it would be for Abby to be off the canvas for awhile, “presumed dead” and then return with “plastic surgery”. That worked out well for Roman’s recast, as well as Jason’s on GH. Then the new face would make more “sense”.

  5. Val says:

    I’m new to Days (anxiously awaiting VI’s debut on January 18), and I really love Patch and Sweetness the best! :) Chad and Abby are so cute together too and IMO will join the ranks of legendary Days couples; they also have that special something! :)

    Reply

  6. Kris says:

    Nice interview! Thanks!

    As a long time fan of Stephen and Mary Beth, and Steve and Kayla, I was so happy to have them featured in a story. I’d been hanging in there, hoping Mary Beth wasn’t going to stay on the back burner forever. Four years is much too long!

    The story itself has been very enjoyable to watch. Steve’s return, his desire to reunite with his family, Kayla’s resistance, her fear of trusting him with her heart. That vulnerability Mary Beth displayed…it was wonderful.
    The supply closet scenes were fun, and their time together has been so touching and full of fun moments.

    I’m so glad you included Peter’s return and the fabulous work he, Kristian, Stephen, and Mary Beth did as individuals and as they worked in pairs or as couples (Bo/Steve, Hope/Kayla, Bo/Kayla, Steve/Hope, Steve/Kayla, Bo/Hope). Any combination was made of win! They all shined, and I was proud of each of them.

    Chad and Abby’s drama as they were finding their way was very good to watch too. I didn’t like Abby’s lying or the fact that she cheated. I was kind of critical of that, because Abby didn’t come across well. But the connection with Chad is there, and his love for her is so evident. I’ve been saying for a long time that it’s hard to root for these newer couples because they don’t put each other first. Then I saw it. I saw Chad stand up to Stefano and give up everything to support Abby’s right to choose Ben without interference from him, even when it meant his own happiness, and I thought, “Here it is! I’m rooting for this guy!” I just love Chad! He and Kate have really had some great stuff.

    I can’t leave out Robert S. Wilson’s work. He was terrific!

    I like the way this group is supportive of each other. I like that they watch each other’s work, too. It says what they’re doing matters.

    I feel like Days has kind of lost some focus in the past couple of weeks. I know they’re gearing up for another big storyline next week, so I’m hoping that “can’t miss this” feeling is back. I’m not big on brainwashing or crazy ladies, but I love relationships of all kinds (romantic, friendship, family), and these four actors have given me that in spades!

    Thank you, Michael…and thanks to Days, to Stephen, Mary Beth, Billy, and Kate for taking the time to do this interview for the fans!

    Reply

  7. Barb says:

    A wonderful interview. It is so wonderful to hear how dedicated these actors are to their roles and the acting profession. The writers and crew also cannot be forgotten for giving these actors such brilliant material to work with!

    Reply

  8. Shirley Strickler says:

    What a great interview love them all.

    Reply

  9. Scoma60 says:

    You always have great interviews but with this one you saved the best for last.
    Really thoughtful questions. Days has been must see for the last 6 months. Steve/Kayla are my favorite couple of all time. MBE/SN are as magical now as they were from the start. Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.

    Reply

  10. Brandy says:

    These were my four favorite in 2015, hands down.

    Great interview with all!

    Reply

  11. Lisa says:

    Loved the article, love these actors and can’t wait to see what’s in store!

    Reply

  12. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful interview. I love these actors. My absolute favorites on Days.

    Reply

  13. Jaime says:

    Steve and Kayla are amazing. Stephen and Mary Beth keep it coming. You are the reason a lot of us came back to Days.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    Yes! And I want to thank Stephen as well as Mary Beth, Billy, and Kate–but most especially Stephen–for loving–and respecting–the fans. Cheers to you Stephen!

    Reply

  14. elm51 says:

    thank you michael for another extraordinary interview – all four of them seem so down to earth & humble and i love seeing that in an actor/actress……………

    Reply

  15. deb says:

    Fantastic interview; I enjoy all four actors and it is great to see how supportive they are of each other.

    Reply

  16. Kelly says:

    Michael, you give/get the best interviews from all the daytime actors!! Loved this one and I too, love to hear the actors personal takes on their roles and work together!! DOOL and all of their actors, writers and crew are the best!!!!

    Reply

  17. Beth says:

    Terrific interview. IMO, the best couples onscreen are those who bring something of the personal to their acting, and that’s clearly the case with MBE and SN, and now with KM and BF. Steve and Kayla are a rarity–a reunited supercouple with a good reunion story, where the two actors haven’t missed a beat. Sometimes the reunions don’t live up to expectations, but Stayla sure did. As for Chabby, they have surprised me with how well they’ve been written, and how much I’ve enjoyed the angst between them. I’m a soap fan who actually loves the trials and tribulations of couples as long as the acting and writing show me the longing and that these two people would go to the ends of the earth for the other, and both these couples show that daily. Not every couple does that. I look forward to what’s coming next for both Chabby and Stayla.

    Reply

    Monique replied

    I agree Beth!!! When Stephen bought his harmonica, came up with the name Sweetness and played the role with a vulnerability that gave character more depth and he wasn’t even told to play it out in a vulnerable way. His character was supposed to get killed off, but since he played the character in a vulnerable way and the producer Shelley Curtis noticed it that saved him from getting the axe. Therefore he was able to stay on and I got my couple Steve and Kayla. For Mary Beth she added the humor the role and her seduction method, kissing style can be (sensual and classy), and the way she plays it out is different from the rest of the other women that appeared on soaps. When she wants to give people a piece of her mind it rolls her eyes or slap a person. There was alot of passion in the slaps and punches she gave. Steve and Kayla could also be naughty which the other couples on soaps really weren’t. They draw you in to the scenes and they their scenes and sound so real. Stephen and Mary Beth had the look, the body language (looks and steers) and tone to pull of being naughty and make it look sexy!! like the hotsprings, the first time they made love and the morning after when he told how good a night they had making love, reminiscing the first time they made love, the honeymoon bubblebath in 1988, the 2nd run when he bought her roses and they trying to make a baby. Then she got the phone call etc. As for Chad and Abby hopefully they will have so more great scenes and the if they is recast the new Abby has a great connection with Billy the way that Kate does!!!

    Reply

  18. Sue says:

    Love the interview and these four. I had not watched Days in years but started up when I heard Steve/Kayla were going to be back together for the 50th. I am loving them… but surprise, surprise… I am now a hardcore Chabby fan. I have bought past episodes on iTunes to catch some of their earlier storyline/performances. Thank you so much for this interview. Love, love, love these actors and the characters they bring to life. Best year ever, but hope you all make me say that again next year :) Much gratitude to you all.

    Reply

  19. Hilary says:

    Michael. MICHAEL. I find alot interviews in the Soap media to be kind of rote these days; superficial. But this? So freaking good. An actual conversation with meaningful content. Pairing up Stephen & Mary Beth with Kate & Billy was really brilliant. A veteran supercouple with a new supercouple, similar in their chemistry and epicness, both with significant story being told. I loved how they related with each other and how your interview showed how much they clearly all like and admire each other. You really allowed us to hear their thoughts and feelings on each other’s stories — and their work. That was very different and such a window. Thank you for this fantastic interview, I love the work of all four of these people, and I love your journalism here, too. Happy New Year!

    Reply

  20. Irene says:

    I could watch stories of these 4 every day. Awesome

    Reply

  21. Laura says:

    Thank you for doing this interview! Loved it! I’m a devoted “Chabby” fan and love Stayla too. I have so much respect for Billy, Kate, Mary Beth, and Stephen. So many of us Chabby fans have been clamoring for an interview with Billy and Kate together, so we’re thrilled!

    I love Mary Beth and Stephen’s words of wisdom for Billy and Kate and how much respect these actors have for one another.

    Thanks again Michael!

    Reply

  22. denisefan says:

    Outstanding interview Michael…. you lead the actors to interact and show us why they are artists. You really set a great tone for them to enjoy their work and honor other actors at Days the past year.

    Thank you!

    Reply

  23. Willa Sargent says:

    Michael. Wow what a inspiring, Fabulous interview with Stephen, Marybeth, Billy, & Kate..I am #50yrs Days superfan..I was 11 yrs old kid in WV that got addicted to Days Of our Lives Nov 8 1965!!!…I was there when Stephen, Marybeth, Peter & Kristian..came on the scene!!! what great history I have memories of..my heart was broken to see Peter Reckell leave, but he has young daughter, and I wouldn’t expect no less out of Peter..a true Family man..same for Stephen & Marybeth, Kristian,they are about Family!!!! I am excited for Billy Flynn & Kate Mansi the New Super Couple!!!! Peter & Stephen both have been my #1 favorite actors…plus I have another FAVE #MrBabyBlues Billly Flynn, and those BEAUTIFUL BLUE EYES, HE IS SO GORGEOUS!!!!I BET INSIDE HIS HEART IS MADE OF GOLD!!! ON #DISHINDAYS W/Mark Freeman, i am in all the way with Mark for BILLY FLYNN,,MARK & I ARE HIS BIGGEST FANS!!! RIGHT MARK FREEMAN? A SHOUT OUT TO TONY PARKER, MARK FREEMAN & JAMES LOTT FROM DISHIN DAYS!! MY OTHER FAVE SHOW WITH DAYS!!!! THANK YOU MICHAEL FOR YOUR INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN, MARYBETH, BILLY & KATE…#IAM50YRSDAYSSUPERFAN..SINCERELY ME ALWAYS, WILLA <3 hugsss <3

    Reply

  24. cindy martinez says:

    Fabulous. I’ve never read an interview where you feel as though you are right there in the room with everyone. Great honesty and dialogue. The effort, heart and history these actors put into their job is through the roof. You sometimes assume that they just show up on set and poof!!!! amazingness. Their work appears to be driven from such a pure and honest place. I truly feel that when your work comes from this kind of place it makes everything we see on screen truly Beautiful!!!!

    Thanks Michael for picking these four to highlight TeamDays at it’s Best!!!

    Reply

  25. Lisa says:

    Finally had the time to read this whole interview. Thank you Michael for doing it with the four people who have made Days must see tv again. As a Days viewer and Patch and Kayla fan from the 80′s, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this kind of can’t wait to watch ever day enthusiasm for the show. And Chad and Abby… they’ve captured my imagination in a way that no new couple has even come close to. Billy Flynn and Kate Mansi are creating a special kind of magic with ”Chabby” that hasn’t been seen in a soap couple in a very long time.

    Reply

  26. nancy dillingham says:

    A beautiful interview, Michael. Thanks so very much!

    Reply

  27. Patti says:

    Michael, these interviews were so great! I would have loved to see gym videotaped. Can you do more of those? I really enjoy the fact that you ask the actors to discuss their personal feelings about what they are doing. I want to learn more about them personally. How life experiences play into their acting and what those are. How they prepared for certain scenes. How they feeling after doing the most emotional ones and how they unwind. Mary and Stephen are great examples of the friendships that last out of working together and they have always been so open about that. I came back to watching days I. April 2015 after a long hiatus when I heard some of my favorite characters were back. Now I can’t wait for each episode! True Chabby & Kayla/Patch fan !

    Reply

  28. Charlotte says:

    I don’t like the story line that Chad and Abigail are doing now. I want them back together and happy. Chad loved her so much it was sweet. They need to be back together.

    Reply

  29. Elite Advisors says:

    Mr Fairman…

    Since you have such insight into these show…PLEASE tell us what is happening to DAYS? The killing sand brutality of our beloved characters is heartbreaking.

    Also, we all just read this interview and now know that Kate Mansi is leaving the show… how heart breaking… why is everyone abandoning the ship? This story with Chad and Abby was just getting started… such sadness.

    Please help shed light??

    Reply

  30. Reagan says:

    Just getting a chance to read this. Mary Beth is amazing! So glad she is FINALLY getting good material again. Absolutely love her worth ethic, her personality, & everything she brings to daytime. In my mind, she is one of the most underrated & under appreciated actresses on daytime.

    Reply

    Monique replied

    Sometimes that happens in the entertaining business Reagan. I’ve seen people in the movie, television, music, and sports industry that are some of the best the world has got to offer,get but they don’t the appreciation they rightfully they deserve. I’ve heard so many singers in the 80′s and 90′s that didn’t get the recognition that they deserved and could have made it big but maybe they just signed to wrong label and wasn’t willing to promote their music. Or they weren’t selling alot of albums or was refused to air the songs on the radio. I tell you one think though their music is a whole better than music today. The music in the 20th Century touched you min, body and soul!!! Now people just throw lyrics together and call a song Then that song becomes a hit!!! smh. Most of the songs now don’t have depth!!! As for Mary Beth I think that she should have won Emmy’s back in the 1980′s (the poisoning storyline, deaf storyline, rape storyline) and 1990 when Steve died and ATWT (Sierra son Bryant’s death) her second run on DOOL when she refuse to allow Steve to leave when he tried to strangle her and when he tried to call EJ and she tried to shake some sense into him by telling him to pull himself together. To me Mary Beth is one the best in business. She knows how to do the angst and she good emotional scenes. Alot of actresses struggle with emotional and crying scenes but Mary Beth is a pro!! Thoughout the decades there are many actresses that have won Emmy and although I may like the characters and the actors, I don’t think of them as strong actresses and they can be what I call over the top actors/actresses. They’re women who have won Emmy’s and struggle with emotional scenes!!! I think that Emmy’s should be given to the best like people Mary Beth. I hate it when alot of the times throughout the decades the same actors/actresses won Emmy’s it’s like they were just handing the Emmy’s out to their favorites and not to people that gave the best performances!!!! I was like this person was great and what about that person!!! Mary Beth is what I consider a multi-layered actress. She has different elements to her acting. She adds the humor, she can do angst and she’s good at emotional scenes. I’m glad that at least there are people (co-stars, actors/actresses, people in the entertainment industry and her many fans) that have compliment throughout her career on what a great actresses she is even though she doesn’t get rewarded for it (which pisses me off) LOL!!! I’m glad Mar Beth is a popular actress and that at least their are some people out their that recognize what a great actress she is. She’ll always be #1 in my book!!!

    Reply

  31. Chrystie_Delancey says:

    Great interview as always, though bittersweet. Billy Flynn HAS arrived and, from what I am learning from him on social media, sounds like one heck of a guy in real life – someone you would want to share a meal with. That being said, he has so much potential beyond soaps.

    I fear what will happen after Kate leaves. If she has finished filming as they say, what becomes of Chad? Hopefully they have an excellent actress to recast the role and, if so, they gave them enough time to screentest to find someone with chemistry.

    Now if Abby and Chad break up during the next 6 months, this will have been for naught. In any event, I will do my best to enjoy them while they are both on my screens as I admit I DETESTED the character of Abigail for the better part of the year because Ben was just so goody-goody boring most of the time. But once Chad kept coming around and I saw the chemistry between Kate and Billy, it was something to hope that the writers would explore further. Once Ben became crazy, which was a great turn because taking one’s shirt off every episode only goes so far, Robert Scott Wilson became compelling to watch. The kidnapping really did it for me. I was glued to the screen and so let down when those characters were not on on a particular day. HA HA!

    In closing, I am just going to enjoy what I have for as long as I have it and be grateful.

    Reply

  32. Monique says:

    I just want t say Happy New Year and thank you Michael for doing this interview with these four talented people. Mary Beth and Stephen are my two favorite people on soaps. Steve and Kayla are my favorite Supercouple for soaps. I also like them on General Hospital as Stefan and Katherine, I also loved Mary Beth on As the World Turns, Days of our Lives, The Bay etc and Stephen on The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives!!!! I like them portraying a couple and acting alone on the individual projects!!! I also like Chad and Abby. Billy and Kate have great chemistry together. It’s a shame that Kate is leaving just as that couple is about to take off!! They could have become a Supercouple. Anyway, it was interesting to hearing each others opinions on their own storyline and each other storylines. I found it enlightening. Of course I knew that Mary Beth and Stephen are best friends and that Stephen chose Mary Beth to play the part of Kayla and gave her the nickname “Sweetness” but I didn’t know that Kate chose Billy to play Chad. I knew that Billy and Kate like working together but I didn’t know the extent of their relationship because I didn’t see them promote or talk about the couple or working together on any websites. All four of them use a similar method to play out the scenes by telling the other person to focus on them and ignore the rest of the world. They get lost in each other eyes!!! If one person is feeling insecure about the how to play out the scenes then the other person gives them encouragement and gets them to relax and take the scenes as they come and just do your best with it. They also give each other advice which is a good method in acting to use and this can help them to to give a good performance. It’s those type of methods that allow these actors to portray such amazing couples!!! I loved the humor and compliments that gave each other for their doing a great job in their scenes. This is why soaps are like a second family to the actors and the fans. They not only love the work that they do, but they also love each other and working with each other. I also loved the advice that Mary Beth gave Billy and Kate by suggesting that they remain friends and stay in touch like she and Stephen have done for nearly 30 years. That was great advice!!! Mary Beth and Stephen have an amazing friendship. Since Kate is leaving Days I want to wish her the best of luck and thank her for the nice clips between Chad and Abby and for helping to portray a couple that kind of reminded of the similar type of magic that Steve and Kayla (Mary and Stephen share). Thanks again Michael for the interviewing these fine actors!!! This is by far your best interview yet!!!

    Reply

  33. Jaime says:

    Too bad the fall was great! Since th e n days went down and now sidelined Steve for a judgmental insulting kayla is a bit of a turn off. We need patch back and kayla without a turn around frankly no longer care.

    Reply

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