Perhaps, there is nothing more difficult in the world of soaps than replacing popular actor in major role. That is what faced Guy Wilson when he took on the role of Will Horton on Days of our Lives. After the departure of two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Chandler Massey, Wilson stepped into the part several months ago, but it wasn’t until last month that viewers got their first look at Guy’s version of Will Horton when he began airing on the NBC daytime drama.
Now a part of the same-sex romance of Sonny (Freddie Smith) and Will, Guy is thrust into one of daytime’s most important pairings of our time. Last week on Valentine’s Day, the duo became engaged. Will is also a father to baby girl, and with plenty of other stories that dovetail into their lives, the stage is set for Sonny and Will to continue to be groundbreaking and an inspiration to the LGBT and mainstream daytime audience.
In this new interview with On-Air On-Soaps, we chatted with Guy to find out: how he is dealing with some of the negative fan pushback, how he feels about the WilSon sex scenes, what he hopes will happen if Sonny and Will make it to the altar, what will he do if he finds out EJ (James Scott) is betraying mom, Sami (Alison Sweeney) with another woman, and what it has meant for him to inhabit this role that means so much to so many viewers! Check out what Guy had to say about all that and more!
When you were being considered for the role of Will Horton, and the producers told you that not only is the character gay, but is also the father to a little baby, what was your initial reaction? Was it, “Can I pull this off?” or “Yay!”?
GUY: My first thought was “Yay!” As if things could not be more interesting, having a child on the show adds such greater stakes and makes everything more important. So as an actor, when you have high stakes that is great! There was no trepidation about working with a baby. I was actually ecstatic. I never had played a role where I had a baby that I can think of, so that was new for me.
Where do you think Sonny and Will’s engagement will go? Do you hope, when and if they tie the knot, that it will be one of those DAYSaster weddings where some sort of massive secret comes out to stop it? Or, do you hope they go for it, and do say their “I do’s” on the first try, which would be unheard of on DAYS! (Laughs)
GUY: If Sonny and Will’s engagement sticks, and if there storyline can get to where a wedding can be planned, in terms of what I want personally, I would personally want the best for Will and Sonny. I love them. I want them to be happy. So, on a personal level if they have a wedding, I would want it to go off without a hitch. I am not writing the show though. In terms of what could happen, you’re right. This is a daytime drama and Days of our Lives! A lot of people tend to get shot at weddings. (Laughs) My personal preference is for it to be a blissful and peaceful affair … and that is if they can even get to the altar! So much drama could happen before the event itself.
What does Will think about Nick’s (Blake Berris) current behavior when he shockingly returned to Salem? Do you think he would do anything to protect his man, Sonny (Freddie Smith)? Or, do you think he would take the higher road and not resort to violence?
GUY: Will is not getting any younger. There are now factors in his life that raise the stakes. He has child and a fiancée; and these are the types of things that come around once in a lifetime. Certainly, Will is a very passionate young man, but he is still a man. Sometimes you have to protect what is yours by any means necessary. I don’t think there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to protect those he loves. I think Will was shocked at Nick’s return. There is no level of comfort knowing Nick is back in Salem, and so often Will is the last to learn things. Now he is eager to learn what the heck is going on, before anything else bad happens.
If Will found out EJ (James Scott) is having an affair with Abigail (Kate Mansi), behind his mother’s back, how do you think he would react … given the fact that he has at times had a good relationship with EJ?
GUY: I think Will would be crushed, and he would see it as a huge betrayal by EJ. Will knows how delicate Abby can be with her own heart. He would feel on one hand very protective of his mother, and on the other hand, he would be very protective of his cousin, Abigail. So if that affair gets out, that could set Will on the warpath!
Do you think Will would then set out to try and take down EJ?
GUY: Lord knows, he has done that in the past! It wouldn’t be unfamiliar territory.
There have seemingly been more bedroom scenes between Sonny and Will, of late. How is that for you to film? Were you surprised at how many times you have been between the sheets?
GUY: It is not as if the producer came to me and said, “Are you comfortable with this?” When I was close to getting on to this show and getting the role, I did speak to the producer, but I was very familiar with the story. It was an important story. I made it clear to them then if I were to take over this role, I would want to portray this relationship as a true relationship. In real relationships, people are affectionate. People do have intimate moments. I made it clear that it was something I absolutely wanted to be a part of. And whether or not that played into when these bedroom scenes get written, I have no idea. But as far as doing the scenes themselves, it’s a love scene to me. It’s a love scene between two characters that love each other, and to that end I feel no trepidation. It’s a chance to portray a true relationship in way that has not been portrayed on television up to this point, and that is a privilege.
What do you do with the negative comments that have been coming your way from some fans that just can’t accept you in the role of Will Horton? Do you just say in your mind, “I am going to win them over!”?
GUY: I am at a point where I just need to accept that. On one hand, you can’t please everybody, and secondly, it’s beyond my control. I can’t make someone like me, or the idea of me. Sometimes, I wish people would remember I am a human being and an actor. I am not out there trying to ruin someone’s idea of what a character should be. I want to serve the story the best that I can. To be honest in the big picture, it hasn’t gotten me down. I am aware that people have their opinions, but that’s entertainment and show business. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I allowed it to really negatively affect me on a day to day basis.
I know we had that great call from a listener in Maine during your appearance last week on the season premiere of Soap Nation Live! The caller spoke about how much you have touched them in the role of Will in such a short time. Have there been one or two comments. or an in-person moment, where a gay fan of the show has told you how much it means to them to have their life in some way represented on daytime television via Sonny and Will’s story?
GUY: Certainly through Twitter and letters that are mailed into the studio, which allows for much more an exchange that is not just 140 characters! It is really touching to receive the correspondences. It really hit home the gravity of the opportunity for me, and the importance to be able to do something that touches people. It is one thing to entertain people, and as actors we love doing that, but to be able to elevate people in the way in which they understand themselves in the world that is a gift. This whole time I have looked at this storyline and this role as a gift to be able to make a difference. You couldn’t ask for more in this profession.
Are these letters saying to you things such as: “you have helped me come out”, or “you have shown me that I can lead a normal life”?
GUY: One thing that is really prevalent are fans expressing a sense of inspiration for how they compare themselves in the world. Because of how the relationship of Sonny and Will is portrayed, it gives them perhaps a greater sense of confidence of who they are, or to their loved ones, or in society as a whole. Sonny and Will are great communicators, and putting that out there as the “norm” has so affected people.
Do you feel like you are this pop culture icon of the moment?
GUY: I don’t want my head to get to big! (Laughs) But it’s nice to know that I am having an affect, and really it’s not me, it’s the character I play. Really what I am doing is breathing a little bit of life into a character that has existed. I am just trying to be the beating heart inside the character and let people take from it what they may.
But you do have to pinch yourself, Guy! It’s got to be very cool for you! You are very in demand!
GUY: Oh, my God! Just the fact that I am speaking with you Michael, what else is there to ask for? (Laughs)
So,what did you think about what Guy had to say about taking over the role of Will and the responsibility of doing justice to this key role on daytime television? How he is handling any negative feedback from the DAYS audience? What do you think would happen if Sonny and Will eventually made it to the altar? Would it go off without a hitch … or get ruined by something or someone in Salem? Weigh-in below!