One of the races to watch that is to close to call at this year’s upcoming 41st annual Daytime Emmy Awards is that of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series! And for Days of our Lives stalwart Eric Martsolf, after years in daytime, he has finally been recognized by his peers for his performance. Eric earned himself his first ever Daytime Emmy nod for his take-no-prisoners scenes of a drug-addicted Brady Black confronted by those that care about him in what becomes a failed intervention!
DAYS fans know that throughout 2013 Emmy calendar season Martsolf was paired with Eileen Davidson, and as Brady and Kristen they were the spark that ignited the show. Through Kristen’s duplicitous schemes that backfired, and Brady an unknowing victim in love with his woman, ultimately it caused the man to relapse into addiction. Thanks Kristen!
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Eric to get his thoughts on when he learned he was an Emmy nominee, why he chose the scenes that won him a shot at the gold, working with Eileen Davidson, the challenges of playing a drug addict and much more! What we can say is this: it was some much fun to celebrate this acknowledgment with Eric. And in this conversation, not only will you get some insight, but have some good laughs along the way. And now Daytime Emmy nominee Mr. Martsolf!
So what happened when you found you were actually a Daytime Emmy nominee for the first time in your career?
ERIC: I forgot the nominations were coming out quite honestly. I found out I think how everybody found out: when I got out of the shower butt naked and wet and looked down at my phone and realized it was going nuts! (Laughs) I had all these texts messages and all these tweets. I am like, “What is happening? What could possibly be happening at 5:30 in the morning? And sure enough, that is when I found out. I saw all these “Congratulations Eric!” I then put two and two together.
Did your mouth drop?
ERIC: Everything dropped! (Laughs)
So, the towel dropped?
ERIC: Well, you know when you’re after 40, everything drops! And that’s a shame (laughs), but of course my mouth dropped! But, I had a couple of unsuspecting birdies in my ear a couple of weeks prior. I got a text from some respected people in the form of: Crystal Chappell who sent me a “Congratulations on my reel”, which I thought was interesting. Then Judi Evans (Adrienne, DAYS) came up to me atypically and took me in the corner and said, “You’ve got a real shot this year.” I was surprised by it. A lot of people had come up to me and told me they were very happy with what they had seen, and that led me to believe I might have a shot.
You submitted the very emotional intervention scenes where Brady is confronted by Daniel (Shawn Christian), Nicole (Arianne Zucker) and Eric (Greg Vaughan) at the Kiriakis mansion over his drug use and the downhill spiral his life has taken. Tell me about those scenes and why you chose them for your Emmy submission?
ERIC: They are approaching him about the drugs and Daniel eventually is grabbing the coke out of Brady’s pocket, and then it’s Brady essentially choosing this vile of cocaine over everything else including his loved ones. And as much as I wanted to submit whatever scene I had with Eileen Davidson (Kristen) because that was the bulk of my good times in 2013, when it came down to it, these scenes were just too intriguing to watch that guy become so far off the edge that he would choose this substance over his friends and family. It was powerful and it was a long time coming. I felt something. There was something in my gut that said this is creepy, interesting, and weird all at the same time. I have never really been given this chance to have a storyline like this. This was a hard serious subject for a guy like me to take on who spent most of his time laughing and walking around on stage having a really great time.
This was the most heavy-hitting dramatic story you have played! How was it been for you diving into the mind of an addict and playing the beats of it? It must take its toll on you.
ERIC: I spent the last 12 months portraying an addict. It’s been hard on me, and it’s been tough on my family, because coming out of that at home is kind of rough after you spent nine hours at the studio be ostracized and playing this guy who couldn’t give a crap about the world.
Did you feel, or know at the time you taped your Emmy nominated scenes, that it was very special? Did you have that transcendent moment that actors always hope to attain with their performances?
ERIC: No, I wasn’t sure. I literally went upstairs at the DAYS production offices and grabbed about 18 DVD’s and watched them all, one after the other, and that one just stuck out. Quite honestly, we shoot at such a pace, I don’t have the time to evaluate whether I nailed it or not. All I know is I am putting something out there on tape and it’s going into American television sets months later. So no, I did not have a transcendent moment. I just saw these scenes and thought that people would respond to it.
Eileen Davidson was so gracious to be a part of our Soap Nation Live with Michael Fairman Daytime Emmy Special broadcast earlier this month. Now first of all, I had trouble hearing what she said … (Laughs)
ERIC: Was she surfing? (Laughs)
No! She was driving, but she eventually pulled over to the side of the road when we got around to talking about you! I mentioned to her how this was a long time coming for you. She raved about you and related how excited she was for you, and that you earned a nomination. I think we all feel that.
ERIC: I don’t know what to say, but thank you … that made my day, my week, my month that comment right there So, let me try to assimilate the feeling: When my doctor told me my wife and I were having twins, I always thought that is something that happened to other people. I felt like that was a select club. And I am like, “What do you mean, me? No, that’s other people.” Same thing with the Emmy: I have just gone through my soap career graciously. But I have never had a loud trumpet as far as media was concerned. I just thought Emmys happened to other people …like … Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) … Christian LeBlanc (Michael, Y&R)… Billy Miller (Ex-Billy, Y&R)… Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH)… guys like that! (Laughs) Those guys win Emmys! But a couple weeks ago I realized, “No. This club is open for business, and maybe I deserve to be a part of this group after all.”
NATAS has been striving with some voting changes and the reels being voted on online, to try to make the Emmy competition as fair as possible. One would hope that good works shines through, and it’s not the same ole, same ole, or the usual suspects that always get in. And in your case, it proves someone new can enter the field!
ERIC: The work is really all I have. This is not an excuse, but being the father of twin boys I don’t have a lot of free time to venture out in Hollywood and rub a lot of elbows, and meet up with the other cast members and go to a lot of red carpets. I have to pick and choose the events I attend very carefully, and so I haven’t publicized myself as much as I would like to in almost the last decade. But as a result, I have to let this four minute clip be the one thing that propels me to the next step.
What did Eileen Davidson say to you when you finally saw each other face-to-face after you both landed nominations?
ERIC: We worked together the other day and the director was very funny and he said, “Quiet on the set. We have two Emmy nominees on set here!” (Laughs) Eileen is a lovely woman. She ripped out probably the best I have to offer in this soap genre, and you probably are as good as your co-star. She may not have been in my reel, but she was a big part of it. Eileen is very gracious. I understand why the soaps are throwing their hooks out at her. If I was a producer, I would want her too.
Playing an addict is no easy feat! I assume you did your research?
ERIC: I sure did. I was very trendy and I got on You Tube! I typed in “cocaine behavior” and I think the other word I used was “crazy”. I wanted to see how these people were. I spent hours to the point where my wife was walking in to the room going, “What are you watching?” And I go, “Oh, my God. You have to look at this!” I would try to emulate these people and their little ticks like moving their tongue around their mouth to search for that little morsel of cocaine that may be stuck inside their incisors. It was the little things like that I was hoping the power of high definition television would catch. I was also fearful of making it look to big. I didn’t want to make it a parody. That’s always been my crux as well. I come from the theater and I tend to go bigger than smaller. I wanted this to be subtle, but then again translate. But yes, I did do my research, but no, I did not go out and do coke in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles! But you know what I did? I free-based Diet Coke! And it worked really well! (Laughs) It’s just like cocaine if you drink twelve of them in a row. It’s like being on the white powder! (Laughs)
What did you wife say after you got nominated? Did she say something along the lines of, “Thank God you scored this nomination after all you put me through learning to play a drug addict?” (Laughs)
ERIC: I played a joke with her in the kitchen because at 5:30 in the morning she was making sandwiches for the boys. I go, “God, Twitter is weird!” She goes, “What are you talking about?” I go, “Look what these people are saying!” Of course, I already knew. She finally caught on and got this look in her eye, and gave me a huge hug, and she started to tear up. She said to me, “Are you happy?” I said, “Yes, are you?” She says, “Yes, but I’m petrified.” I said, “Why are you petrified?” She says, “Where the hell am I going to get a dress?” It was very funny and cute. Now everyone at work was like, “Congratulations Eric! Now whip out your wallet and go get your wife a dress!” (Laughs) I mean, I am excited! I think I get car service if I am a nominee and that’s huge for me, and you get a plus one!
Do you know the other gents that are nominated in your category? Scott Clifton (Liam, B&B), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, GH), and Steve Burton (Dylan Y&R)?
ERIC: I know Scott. He is a nice guy. I know Bradford Anderson who is also a ridiculously nice guy I don’t know Dominic Zamprogna and Steve Burton that well. However, I do know these guys work and anyone could get the Emmy. There’s no clear winner here. They are all talented guys.
What would you like to say to your fans who are thrilled for you, and have been supportive of you throughout your soap career?
ERIC: Their loyalty continues to amaze me and it’s why we do what we do. Thank you for continuing to watch when you have six million other shows to watch on television these days … some people still turn into these soaps! And it’s enough to keep these engines running and I am very, very grateful to all of them. They had to suffer through Ethan Winthrop on Passions for so many years. (Laughs) Now I am able to give them, not that Ethan was a bad guy, but I am just glad that Brady has gone into this deep dark storyline that has been interesting to watch. Thanks for all the coke and all the good times! (Laughs)
Watch Eric’s nominated performance below! Then let us know … what you thought of his scenes? His thoughts on landing his first Daytime Emmy nomination? If you are looking forward to seeing Eric on-screen again with his one of a kind scene partner, Eileen Davidson in the months ahead? Weigh-in below!