As Days of our Lives had its official reboot this week with many returning favorites and the launch of several new storylines, where does that leave troublemaker and often misunderstood, Nicole Walker Dimera?
On-Air On-Soaps had the opportunity to catch up with the talented Emmy nominated actress, Arianne Zuker (Nicole) to find out! Is there a future with EJ? Brady? Someone new? Or, should Nicole go it alone and get her life in order? These are several of the talking points in our chitchat. So, here is the fabulous Arianne on what is going on in that complicated mind of Nicole!
What is happening with Nicole? Is she jockeying for an opportunity to be with EJ? What is her deal?
ARIANNE: I think with Nicole she is trying to find some independence here. I think Gus really shook her up! It was very scary for her. I can’t imagine that happening. It is one of my worst fears and then having it go further. I mean, yeah, he could have gouged her neck, but Kamall Shaikh (Gus) was awesome. I said, “Dude, just go for it, as long you don’t choke me, I am good. Just do it. Do what you need to do and if you are hurting me, I will kick you in the you-know-what.” He was great and I trusted him, and we had a conversation. To put yourself there especially as a woman, you go, ‘Oh my God. If this ever happened to me, I would be freaking out.’ And so, that shook her up and takes a moment and reboots who she is. Nicole has got to change, she is getting up there. (Laughs) She has been making such bad choices in her life.
Good point. You know she has never really quite learned. And I would think it is fun to play her, because Nicole is so unpredictable. But then I would also think as an actress, you would like to see your character grow.
ARIANNE: You do! And I feel for her and am frustrated for her, but in a good sense. That allows me to try and understand where she is living. I try to make a timeline with her and why these things keep coming back. Why does she make recurring bad choices? It is something that is in all of us. How many times has someone dated the same type of person over and over again? How many times has someone mis-balanced their checkbook over and over again? And you can look your own life and go, why do I keep doing the same thing? Why do I keep leaving ten minutes late and getting to work ten minutes late? It’s the little things, and that is what this character does. Nicole cannot get herself out of doing the same thing over again.
Do you think much of her issues to this day stem from her past and being so abused by her father?
ARIANNE: Absolutely. I definitely think she has a disadvantage. She was abused by her father, and her mother, who never did anything about it! I hope that would get brought up again, dealt with, and fixed a little bit. Number one, I think it would be great drama for a soap. And on a personal level, I have changed a lot. I am such a different woman than I was in my twenties. I almost don’t remember them as much, because I am so different than I was, and I have a child now. I don’t want to remember my twenties as much either, because I didn’t really like that person that much as much as I like this one. And I got to tell you, I love my thirties. In your thirties, you kind of get who you are, and so I can only imagine what my forties will be like. So you spend that time figuring yourself out and that is what is happening with Nicole. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had any guidance, or a mentor, or a mother in her life, or friend, or anything, to push that process along.
I heard new DAYS head writers; Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas were taking meetings with the actors to discuss their characters. Did you get an opportunity to speak with them?
ARIANNE: Yes, I took my meeting. I listened a lot more than I spoke up. Because listen, I have ideas and thoughts, but I am also not the head writers of this show. I can put my two cents in, but mostly it’s about that if they have an idea, I want to run with it. More like, “Here is what I would love to see, but if you are going to do that, then I am going to dive right into it.” It’s a collaborative team. Now, not everybody agrees with that, and that is fine. But, that is how I chose to do it and I like it because I feel I am just tested constantly. It’s a really good feeling. I am not speaking for them, but perhaps they may be thinking, “Let’s turn her this way, or let’s turn her that way.” You can never say anymore, “Nicole would never do something”, because she is so out-of-the-box or abused or because of where her life has taken her. So who’s to say she would never do this or that? She can be capable of almost anything, as we have seen in the past!
So with Nicole’s relationship with EJ? Is she in love with him?
ARIANNE: I think the biggest thing with EJ is … OK, let me put it this way. Have you ever in your lifetime been in love with someone who never really loved you back 100%? And you stay with that person, and you are never going to get him the way you really, really, want him? I think Nicole is so blinded by whatever she thinks she loves about EJ, that it colors her perception at times. I will tell you there was someone I was with a long time ago, and I was in love with the idea of being in love or getting married. However, that person was not the right person for me. So you manifest stuff that isn’t there. I think that is what Nicole does a lot with EJ, because he will turn around and do whatever he is going to do to Sami, and whatever he is going to do to Nicole’s sister, Taylor. Then Nicole is like, “OK, come back.” (Laughs)
Then, is she delusional when it comes to EJ?
ARIANNE: For sure, because EJ gives her a little bit and she takes it.
Everyone was very upset online yesterday and on Twitter with whether or not James Scott (EJ) would be leaving DAYS, after an item broke on his contract talks. Later, fans were somewhat relieved when James released his own statement, that he is working things out and trying to stay put. That would be terrible if he chose to leave, but everyone needs to also understand if an actor wants to go, they need to go and do other things. What are your feelings if he were to leave DAYS? It would be a big loss for the show, wouldn’t you say?
ARIANNE: Oh yes! James is a great actor. He will do whatever he needs to do and I will support him. But again, all of that is none of my business, so I just leave it alone. But I am a huge supporter of his and I just adore working with him. I think he is awesome.
What do you think will happen with Nicole and Brady now? I think that is done, right? Brady is getting involved with Madison played by Sarah Brown. Or, will Nicole then get all jealous and weird, as only she can? (Laughs)
ARIANNE: That is a very good question, and I would love to mix it up with Sarah. She brings such a different type of woman to the show. It is something fresh in Brady’s life, and I think he needs that. I think Brady had been in this crappy place. I think it was comfortable for him to be with Nicole, because they know each other, and they can sleep with each other and know it is fine. But at the end of the day, we are like, “You know, this isn’t healthy for either one of us. We are never going to see what is outside of this if we don’t break it off.”
Who on set do you have the biggest laughs with? Isn’t it Eric Martsolf (Brady)? Haven’t you told me many times you two get in trouble with your giggles?
ARIANNE: (Laughs) It’s between Eric and Alison Sweeney (Sami)! With Ali and me, I think people want to shoot us, because we can’t stop quoting Mel Brooks movies! That is all we do all day long. (Laughs) It is so bad. And, of course Martsolf and me could be inside a paper bag for days and just laugh and laugh and laugh. He is hysterical. I always said he should be writing a script or something. He is just good at that.
So, do you think there could be any other man on the horizon for Nicole?
ARIANNE: God, I hope so. I have no clue. I would like to be a fresh face or Eric Brady come back … Sami’s twin!
And, who would you love to see play that role, if you could cast it?
ARIANNE: That is great question! Well, I still like Jensen Ackles (Ex-Eric) and I watch Supernatural. So many people have said that my husband, Kyle Lowder (Ex-Brady) should come back as Eric, and I love working with my husband, don’t get me wrong, but really? We like our own projects and I think its better that way. It’s like, “Love you babe, but I gotta go make out with somebody else!” (Laughs) You know who would be good? Michael Weatherly from NCIS . ( pictured below) He is charming, funny, and good-looking, and I think he would be terrific as Eric Brady.
Isn’t Nicole back-burnered a little bit right now?
ARIANNE: Yes, a little bit, but in respect to everyone that has just come back, they have got to tell their stories. And, with the return of Bren Foster (Quinn), too, they have got six returns. So they have got a full-plate.
What if they paired Nicole with Quinn? Would you be into it? After all, they both have a scandalous past; perhaps they could find some spark and common ground.
ARIANNE: Oh, that would be great! I would be very open to that. Bren Foster is a great actor. I think he could really bring something, too.