May 20th, 2008  |  Leave a comment

THE DEIDRE HALL AND DRAKE HOGESTYN INTERVIEW – DAYS OF OUR LIVES

By Michael FairmanDeidre-Drake.jpg

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TV SOAP:
Deidre, how has it been having Drake back as the new John Black?

DEIDRE:
It’s like having a whole new recast.  I know how the actor works and how reliable he is, but it’s like working with a whole other character.  It’s challenging and fun, and I think the audience is getting a huge kick out of it.

TV SOAP:
Drake, to clear the rumors, many “DAYS” fans think perhaps you knew all along that once they killed John, that he was coming back.  Is that true?

DRAKE:
Absolutely not!  I am working with an acting coach right now and we are plotting out the new John Black.  What I signed back on for was to explore the real reason John Black was created and brought to Salem and to explore his dark side.  I want to make sure we are all on the same page and continue to tell that story.

TV SOAP:
How did you react when you heard this was the new direction of Drake’s character?

DEIDRE:
I loved it right along… just loved it.

TV SOAP:
Drake, how did you react when you found
out the new direction of John?

DRAKE:
One day, Ed Scott (co-exec. prod. “DAYS”} shows up and explains this character to me and it sounds like the beginning of John Black all over again.  And then, I got a call from Ken Corday (exec. prod. “DAYS”) “If you’re interested, here is what we have planned.”  I said, “Absolutely, as long as they keep the story going. “

TV SOAP:
How were you going to adjust your portrayal?

DRAKE:
One day when I was with my acting coach, the first thing I wanted to do was lose 22 years of soap opera.   I said, “I want to lose selling soap opera.”   I used to think I sold it very good. (He laughs)  I want to lose selling red herrings, the double entendre, the cliffhanger, and… I have an eyebrow that flies away on my natural look as Drake Hogestyn.  They mocked it on the TV Sitcoms, “Friends” and “Joey”.  I said, “I want to lose it all,” and we worked on containment.  We took everything as still as we could take it.

TV SOAP:
So, you got some creative freedom from the show?

DRAKE:
They said, “Feel free, and this is what we want: dangerous, untrustworthy, and he is emotionally void.”  That is how we started him out and it’s thrilling and exciting, and that’s how I felt back in 1986.

TV SOAP:
What do you think the real dilemma in the relationship is for Marlena?

DEIDRE:
She needs to decide if she likes him or not.  He is not the old John.  She needs to decide if it’s going to work for her or not.

DRAKE:
This really puts the dilemma on Marlena now.  She has to say, “If I want to be with this man, I am going to have to accept some of his shortcomings.” And, there is the dilemma for the heroine, or the ”woman on the white horse”.

TV SOAP:
What does the new John think of Marlena?

DRAKE:
He is intrigued by her and her stories, and why does she stay around him when he has treated her so poorly?  He can tell her anything he wants and says it, and that may come from a cold position, and she still stays there.  He has heard all of her stories from the life they had together to the point where he is nauseous.  Where there is frustration on his part is knowing he will never go back to being that person, and that “other guy”.

TV SOAP: 1:06
But, at times he senses something about her, doesn’t he?

DRAKE:
The new John is operating on a whole new base now.  He remembers nothing about her before.  Sometimes he has these lighting bolts, or deja vu, that go by so fast and he tries to grab it, but it’s gone.  But, there is something that John felt for a second that makes him curious now.  Is Marlena beautiful?  Absolutely.  Is she smart?  Without a doubt, and was sex in the tent spine shattering?  Well, you know it was.  But outside of that, is there emotional attachment?  Well, he has no emotion, but he wants to know more about her.

TV SOAP:
But, at times, it must put Marlena in a peculiar situation since he is not the John Black she is used to!

DEIDRE:
Oh sure.  Sometimes, she finds him adorable and yummy, and sometimes she doesn’t want to let him in the door.

TV SOAP:
Now that Drake is back as another incarnation of John Black, do you still rehearse together?

DEIDRE:
I think we work even more closely.

DRAKE:
I am so focused when I go on set.  His whole speech pattern and the way he looks and studies people in the middle of scenes, are different.  Deidre is so flexible that I will make sure I run my lines with her so she knows where my beats and my breaks are.  I try to deliver the lines different than the old John, and initially it threw her off a bit, I think.

TV SOAP:
What were your feelings when your on-screen daughter, Belle, played by Martha Madison, was let go?

DEIDRE:
I was distraught to see her go.  She was a lovely co-star and was reliable and intensely talented.  We will stay in touch.

DRAKE:
I did not understand what that was about.  I think it’s interesting that they get rid of John Black’s family, and this is the only family member left, and Brady is off to rehab in Geneva.  The new John has no emotional attachment to Brady or Belle. Deidre was wondering, “Whoa! What is this about? This is our family! “

TV SOAP:
How is it working for you as an on-screen couple, with Ed Scott as new Co-Executive Producer of “DAYS”?

DEIDRE:
I think we are in good shape.  Ed Scott has a real good handle on the show and knows what he wants to see on-screen, and we are putting it on-screen.

DRAKE:
I love Ed.  He is a man’s man. We click, and we can talk about whatever we want to talk about.

TV SOAP:
Can fans expect to see lots of screen time for John and Marlena over the next several months?

DEIDRE:
We will be plenty busy.

DRAKE:
We could be a very powerful couple in a different way.  If things stay on course, it will be a very exciting long-term story for John and Marlena fans.

TV SOAP:
Will we see a change in Marlena?

DEIDRE:
I think we are going to see her with her antenna up.  She is smart and decisive, and she has an instinct about this man, although it doesn’t always prove to be who she wants him to be.  You can see that she knows what is going on underneath what she is seeing.

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TV SOAP:
After the plane went down and you and John were together in a tent taking cover, what were your thoughts on the love-making scenes?

DEIDRE:
Unfortunately, the audience did not see all those scenes.

DRAKE:
There were some very aggressive scenes.  John comes from the lowest common denominator and all it is is his instincts, and she is a beautiful woman and it’s cold.  She is experiencing hypo-thermia and she wants to be kept warm.  He thinks, “You are beautiful and want to be kept warm.  I am the man for the job.”  And my God!  I have never experienced anything like that in my life that I remember. (He laughs)

TV SOAP:
We heard that a lot of the footage didn’t make it to air. Why?

DEIDRE: 4:12-4:38
I was told at the eleventh hour they felt it was too much, too soon for the characters.  I respect that, and they were still wonderful scenes.  They were challenging, adorable and sexy, and very different for these two people.

DRAKE:
There were some provocative moments that were not the way John responds to a woman.

TV SOAP:
Now, it seems that Marlena has some of her sex appeal back, would you agree?

DEIDRE:
Yup, I do.  Thanks for noticing.  I think she is written that way.

TV SOAP:
With all the recent writing changes at “DAYS”, has it impacted your acting style or character development?

DEIDRE:
We have enough scripts in the hopper so we are not in serious trouble, anyway.  We had lots of things to play, and as always, if they don’t track then we need to step in and decide things.

TV SOAP:
Has there been a moment where you and Drake thought this is really funny?”

DEIDRE:
Oh, that aired? (She laughs)  It was the tent scene.  It was hilarious!

TV SOAP:
Were there any other “cute” on-set moments?

DEIDRE:
We have some scenes coming up in the Dimera mansion where they are just saucy with each other, and they are beginning to have a real deep rapport.  They can tease each other and make jokes, and it’s delicious.

TV SOAP:
Do you think Marlena is done trying to bring the old John back?

DEIDRE:
I think we are past that.  I don’t think she will ever give up on that.  I think she has gone away to think, and she has come to the conclusion that you have to make hay with what you have.

TV SOAP:
They killed your on-screen partner, Drake Hogestyn, off the show and then brought him back to life.  What’s it like having your on-screen partnership back? 7:10
DEIDRE: 7:20-7:46
They have always been a  fabulous couple and audience pleasers.  For that reason I am thrilled not to have lost that.  I think they work well together and have great chemistry, and there is a huge history.  So, I was beyond delighted to have Drake back.

TV SOAP:
Drake, what do you attribute the success of the John and Marlena pairing?

DRAKE:
It’s because we have always been safety nets for each other.  We have good chemistry. We spent so many years and hours getting to know each other, and our characters, and we are very comfortable…. and sometimes too comfortable.  That is why I think this new John makes it a bit more uncomfortable, and makes it discovering a whole new person falling in love with Marlena.

TV SOAP:
Will Marlena continue to be the moral center of Salem, as she navigates through this new relationship?

DEIDRE:
She will have a prominent story and use her own good instincts.  She is the moral center. There is a moment when Sami asks her to lie to the customs officer and she says, “You and John both lie easily, but that goes against my very nature.  I will tell the truth and after that I cannot promise anything.”

TV SOAP:
What does Marlena think about Sami and EJ as a couple?

DEIDRE;
She has divided loyalty.  She loathes him for what he did to Sami, and she loves him for letting her know that John’s alive.

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One of the best scenes in recent Marlena history was her drugging Stefano in the jail cell. Was that hard to play?

DEIDRE:
No, it was great fun!  It was on a couch because we were locked into a very small camera space, but I knew I would love that scene.  I knew Joe Mascolo (Stefano) would love that scene.  The only hard part was that Joe has not been back since then and no one saw that coming.

DRAKE: 26:00
Deidre hadn’t seen the scripts yet, and I go, “My God!  This is the most exciting thing I have seen in daytime!” And she goes, “What?” And I go, “What do you mean… what?  Pick your scripts up and read them!  What a twist in character!  It’s amazing and it’s powerful.  It’s you, and you can play this.  There is so much color to embrace.” AUDIO FILE ENDS

TV SOAP:
Drake, you have not gotten much of a chance to play with Joe in your new incarnation!

DRAKE:
I love Joe.  I was thinking I was going to pull him out of his coma when I found out I was his brother, and we would just shake Salem upside down.  Then, we would have a fight over Marlena and be adversarial.

TV SOAP:
How did you like the twist that John was part Dimera and part Brady, which culminated in bringing to “DAYS”, Oscar winner Shirley Jones, to play Colleen Brady?

DEIDRE:
I was mesmerized by it!  The information that John found his mother, and when she was dying, something rose up in him that was stronger than his programming, was a stroke of great writing.  To play with Shirley Jones was amazing.  She came in like a Trojan.

DRAKE:
I think it was a bold move to make him Dimera and Brady, dark and light.  Which way will he go?  I think the audience thinks he will lean towards the Brady side, but I think it would be a more shocking revelation if he kept moving to the Dimera side.

TV SOAP:
How do you think Shirley Jones faired?

DEIDRE:
She had to memorize the whole Brady family, which is not easy to do.  She carried huge amounts of dialog and brought it off with great aplomb.

DRAKE:
I think there were powerful moments.  I had never met her before.  She worked hard, and had her dialog coach in there, and I was so amazed.  She had so much dialog, and she was right on the money!  She had never done a soap before, but she was so brilliant and I was so proud of her.  Those last moments, when she revealed who she was and died, were some interesting moments, when she wanted to hold me as John.  Deidre was watching off set and was very complimentary.

TV SOAP:
What were your thoughts on Peggy McKay’s (Caroline) performance, after Pop is killed in the plane crash?

DEIDRE:
I thought Peggy was breathtaking!  When you discount somebody because they have not had story to carry and are up in age, and a veteran…well… she was magnificent!  I mean the entire time she never hesitated.  At every break I would tell her how great she was, and that we are here to support you.  I would say, “Whatever you need, we are here. You carry it and we will back it up.”

TV SOAP:
Is there something you would love to see happen to the characters?

DEIDRE:
I think what we are doing is the most entertaining.  We are at the beginning of a love story.  And don’t fall in love with who he was, look at who he is now.

DRAKE:
I want to see him get back on track.  It’s not like when I started 23 years ago.  If you take it into a different kind of love story, we can still satisfy John and Marlena fans that want to see the couple together at all costs.  But, it doesn’t have to be the same type of story and we don’t have to be an appendage.  Some of the writers did not know what to do with John and Marlena in the past or how to expand them.

TV SOAP:
Do you think the powers-that-be at “DAYS” will sustain this current John and Marlena story?

DEIDRE:
I don’t think they will cheap out on that.  I think they will remain true to that direction, and I think it’s a brilliant idea.

TV SOAP:
Have you two had any good chuckles on set, when you are playing this newly reinvented relationship?

DEIDRE:
Yesterday, on the set, I was leaving the room and John was supposed to enter the hearing of EJ, and my line is “Are you coming?”  Enough said.  We just stood there for the longest time. We just screamed.  He did not have to say it.  Do you know what I mean?  We all have a million ad-libs.  It was there, the fun, the playfulness, and the joy of performing.

TV SOAP:
Drake, late last year, you and Deidre and executive producer, Ken Corday, traveled to Australia to promote, “DAYS”.  The trip came at a very strange time for you!

DRAKE:
Ken took me down there, and there is an awkward situation. (He laughs) The weird part was the day that I arrived in Australia was the day the show aired in Australia where EJ shot John and put him into a coma.  But, all anybody wanted to know was, “We just heard you were run over by a car and killed and dead?”  I said, “Things change in a hurry!  You come out of a coma and you get killed.”  One journalist was asking me something at the Intercontinental Hotel over the harbor in Sydney, and I felt my emotions welling up.  I was there for a purpose to promote the show but, that show aired at the same time.  It was an awkward moment, but the spin of the ball changed in Australia, because a lot of stuff was happening in LA at that moment.  John’s funeral was airing over there over two days and I understand they got a spike in the ratings numbers.

TV SOAP:
What did you take away from visiting Australia, specifically, about the country and its people?

DRAKE:
My impression was, “Close your borders now!” You have a secret, the most pristine, unbelievable society.  You don’t know how cynical you have become until you go to a country like that, where people bend over backwards to help you and accommodate you.  I was amazed.  I walked down the street with Deidre, telling her how clean the streets are. Its one of those places I could go to.  Their energy and love for their fellow man, is so commendable.

It’s like, what was that?  Let’s do it again, and she said, “Not until you remember who I am.  I thought being intimate with you would jog something and maybe you would have an epiphany!”  Marlena was coming from a point of desperation.

  1. Barbara says:

    I really miss you two. The show is filled with young people; and we don’t even see the character Alice any more. No action or mystery!
    I hope that some day soon the station will get their heads out of the sand and bring you both back. Are you doing movies now or on another soap.
    Thank you, Barbara

    Reply

  2. Barbara says:

    You wouldn’t like my comment!!!

    Reply

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