“Cause we only have One Life to Live … but it’s on Castle!” Sing it! Daytime soap fans, and those in particular of the beloved citizens of Llanview, are having a reunion of sorts, on a very special Valentine’s Day episode (airing Sunday night, February 14th 10PMET/PT) of the ABC procedural crime drama Castle! The upcoming episode entitled “Witness for the Prosecution” will feature special guest stars: Kassie DePaiva (Ex-Blair), Tuc Watkins (Ex-David) and Darlene Vogel (Ex-Melanie), who are all involved in the latest murder mystery on the hit series starring Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle (Ex-Joey, OLTL).
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with former One Life to Live favorite, Kassie DePaiva, to get all the scuttlebutt on how it all came together for good friends, Tuc, Nathan, and Kassie to work together again in such a fun capacity … and Kassie teases what to look for from her character of Joanna Mathis, who has some sort of celebrity crush on Castle, that kicks off the reunion episode.
Meanwhile, as Days of our Lives fans know, Tuesday was Kassie’s final episode as Eve Donovan on the NBC daytime drama series. The actress took to Twitter and shared: “Well… That’s all folks! I had fun! Thanks fans… you made it all worth while.” Six-months ago, Kassie found out the powers-that-be decision to write-out her character. But while her time in Salem turned out to be much shorter than she originally anticipated, DePaiva did garner herself a Daytime Emmy Pre-Nomination last month in the Outstanding Lead Actress category for her heavy emotional scenes surrounding Paige’s (True O’Brien) murder. During our chat, Kassie shares what it meant to her to still be in the running going into the blue-ribbon round of judging, especially since she is no longer with the show, plus she leaves soap fans a very special message. So, here’s what Kassie had to say about a little slice of Llanview coming to Castle, missing OLTL, and her DAYS finale.
How did this all come to pass that you ended up on this special Valentine’s Day episode of Castle, which reunites you with Tuc Watkins, and Nathan Fillion on-screen?
KASSIE: Tuc, and Nathan, and I had dinner the night before I found this out, but my agent had already submitted me for a role on Castle! Then the next day when I was talking to my agent he said, “I submitted you for a role on Castle.” I said, “Well that’s funny. I just had dinner last night with Nathan Fillion, and he’s a very good friend.” My agent said, “Maybe you should text Nathan and tell him you’re agent submitted you for the role.” So that is what I did. Then I did not hear anything from Nathan, but then three days later my agent said I had gotten the role. I texted Nathan and I said, “I got the role!” And then Nathan said, “And you’re going to be surprised about who your husband is!” That’s when I found out it was Tuc. I went, “Oh, my God. That’s great.” Then I found out about Darlene Vogel, but that was just an amazing random thing that she was also in the episode. It was wonderful to see her; she is just as beautiful as ever. It was fun.
So, you and Tuc play a couple? Ah, if only David Vickers, and Blair Cramer were there! (Laughs)
KASSIE: Yes, Tuc is my husband. I play a fan of Richard Castle named Joanna Mathis, so I am not really acting at all! (Laughs) It’s me sort of fawning over Nathan’s character, so it’s funny.
How long have you known Nathan? You all were on One Life together.
KASSIE: We were trying to figure that out: I think it has been 22 years since we had worked together. I started first on One Life, then Tuc, and then Nathan, but it was all within a year of each other. I started in November of 1993. I think those guys started in 1994.
Do you think that the episode contains four former stars of One Life was just so random? At some point somebody realized they had a way to pull in more daytime viewers to this episode!
KASSIE: I don’t think it was a planned One Life to Live casting stunt. I think the stars kind of aligned. I think Nathan had a say in Tuc and my casting. I’m not sure with Darlene, because I had never worked with her before.
It’s very impressive that given that others in Hollywood have shied away from their soap roots, Nathan Fillion has embraced them. He’s appreciated and respected the medium that gave him his start. Through the years he has spoken highly, and of how much he learned from: Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki), Robin Strasser (Ex-Dorian), and Bob Woods (Ex-Bo).
KASSIE: The day we all worked together on set, Nathan said, “I wouldn’t be here today, if I hadn’t worked with these great guys, and learned so much doing daytime”. I’m glad that he feels that way, and proud enough to say that, and humble enough to say that. In daytime, you can learn a lot. It instills a discipline in you that you can’t find anywhere else. Nathan has a lot of responsibility being a lead in a nighttime series. I am sure everything that he learned doing a soap has only given him the tools to be as successful as he is now. It’s nice that he accredits his placement in his success where his roots were. I think it’s great.
Did you think when you first knew a young Nathan on OLTL, he would go on to such great mainstream success?
KASSIE: You never know that kind of thing, but Nathan opted to leave One Life, and he left at a really great time. I think Bob Woods (Ex-Bo, OLTL) even told Nathan that this was his time to go, and soaps will always be there. Nathan is unbelievably quick-witted, and a very, very intelligent guy. He is really quick on his feet, and he is very special. Not only is he very handsome, but he can be charming, and he can be the hero, which is nice. He and Tuc, for as long as I have known them, they are both two of the funniest guys I know. I just adore being around them.
The three of you must have laughed yourselves silly then while taping this Valentine’s Day episode of Castle!
KASSIE: Oh yes! When you see the episode it is funny! There were takes we were laughing so hard, that we couldn’t get through it. Nathan sets the tone of the set, and everyone adores him. He makes everyone feel comfortable. It was just a really nice, pleasant set to work on.
With the disappointment of being let go from Days of our Lives, it seemed like getting this Castle gig was a nice gem at the right time.
KASSIE: You know, if I would have still been on DAYS I wouldn’t be able to shoot Castle. But, after being over at the DAYS studio the other day, I still would love to still be working on a soap. I love soap operas. I wish there were five soap operas in New York that I could audition for, but there are not. So I’m out in L.A., and since I’m out here I am going to try to land roles on television. But to answer your question, it was nice to immediately get something after leaving DAYS.
So many soap actors at pilot season, or even when roles that come up that they are right for in motion picture or television, still find themselves at the receiving end of the ‘poor stepchild of entertainment’ stigma attached to being on a soap opera with casting directors, or producers. Would you agree in your experience?
KASSIE: Of course, there is. The general meetings I’m having with casting people, they have been very complimentary to daytime actors. But for whatever reason, there is a hump you have to get over. I do think it’s a matter of them wanting to see what you did last, so as long as you’re working it doesn’t matter. It’s hard to tell a casting person when it shows up on paper that I have been working almost every single day for the last 25 years! You know, what I mean? (Laughs). It’s kind of hard for someone to wrap their head around it. They will go, “Oh …oh, OK.” I probably did somewhere between 3500 episodes of One Life to Live. You think about that, and you realize that is the kind of stuff that is crazy!
The Revolution, Katie and FAB Life have all been cancelled by ABC, or Disney/ABC syndication, or distribution wings of the network. Nothing that has replaced One Life to Live in its previous time slot has been a success, but instead a mitigated disaster. In your opinion, and having been a longtime cast member of One Life, do you think anyone looks at it from a network perspective, and says they made a mistake by canning the soap?
KASSIE: I have said this to you before: “It blows my mind that within that year ABC Daytime, which was the strongest daytime line-up of all three networks at that time, wiped out so much, and lost so much.” They lost Oprah, because she decided to end her run, One Life to Live, All My Children were cancelled, and Live with Regis and Kelly changed, because Regis Philbin retired. So, all of that just changed the face of the day for the network. The problem with that, from my point of view, is that the loyal fan base was so angry that they boycotted ABC, and they have not come back. I have gotten letters which have said, “I have not watched anything ABC has put on, but I will watch Castle since you’re on it.” Those are the kinds of messages I think a network needs to pay attention to. Maybe it doesn’t matter to them. They have to have acknowledged that what they have put into place of One Life to Live has failed. It probably cost more money to put all those failed attempts on than the show they rolled off the network.
So what else can you tease for us to look forward to during your Castle episode, entitled, “Witness for the Prosecution”?
KASSIE: I play kind of a socialite, and murder takes place at my home. I just drove by the home we shot it in over in Hancock Park, and I showed my husband Jimmy (James DePaiva, Ex-Max, OLTL) it. I shot all my scenes on location, and not on the set. I said to Jimmy, ‘That’s my house! It’s a big ole honking mansion!” (Laughs) It was great. The episodes of Castle are an hour long, but very cleverly written. In the first scene you are looking at the murder, but you don’t know who the murderer is. Everyone is a suspect: You think it could be me, or Tuc, or this person, or that person. As the episode develops, Richard Castle figures it out. The set up is: My character buys Richard Castle at a charity auction to come to do a reading in my home, and while we are there a murder takes place. Tuc’s character is a cameraman, and Darlene plays a news anchor/reporter. Everyone is a suspect in the very first scene.
It must have been heartwarming to see the OLTL fans reactions when you posted on social media that you were filming this Castle episode that reunited with you and Tuc, Nathan, and also that featured Darlene Vogel. They were very excited!
KASSIE: I know! I thought it was just really special, and what blows me away is why can’t we just go back and do One Life to Live again? Why can’t we just do it? I know we can’t have all those characters because of legal issues, but hey, Ron Carlivati (former head writer, OLTL and GH) is available.
So on Tuesday, DAYS fans saw your final scenes as Eve!
KASSIE: Yes. Eve wants to take Claire (Olivia Keegan) to New York for the Julliard audition, but Belle (Martha Madison) is not happy about. I got to share some final scenes with A Martinez (Eduardo) too, and then that’s the last I’m seen.
Have you kept in touch with the cast from DAYS since your departure six months ago? You received a Lead Actress Daytime Emmy Pre-Nomination for your performance during your time there. What are you submitting for the final blue-ribbon round of voting?
KASSIE: First, I have kept in touch with Wally Kurth (Justin), and had lunch the other day with Mary Beth Evans (Kayla). I also recently had lunch with Kate Mansi (Ex-Abigail) and Missy Reeves (Jennifer). I met such wonderful people there. So, it’s all good. Everyone sent congratulatory Pre-Noms wishes, which was nice. For the blue-ribbon round I am going with the scenes with A Martinez (Eduardo) after Paige dies, and scenes surrounding Paige’s funeral.
Do you feel that getting a Daytime Emmy Pre-Nom is in any way vindication for you being let go by DAYS?
KASSIE: I have no real bitterness about DAYS. What’s great is that I felt it was a gift to play that part. I got to finally play the grief-stricken mom, and just go to the dark place, and am lucky I had some really strong material. It’s now up to somebody’s taste, and what they think is good, and what they prefer, and consider quality acting. I did the best I could with what I have, but after 30 years of throwing your name in the hat … does it mean something? Yeah, it means something. But will it change anything? No, it won’t. I mean, if I get a nomination, I was still let go.
Did you participate in the Pre-Nom voting process? If so, what did you think of the overall performances of your peers that submitted their work in competition this year?
KASSIE: I did vote in the acting categories, and there were some wonderful performances this year. I knew about 70 % of the people I was voting on, and some people I was not familiar with their work. I judged on what I though was the best as far as I was concerned, and when watching some of my friends, I thought to me that wasn’t the best work that I knew they could do, and then there were people that I didn’t know that I would go, “I like that! I thought that was honest, and beautiful work. I’m going to vote for you.” I think that is the way people should look at these tapes.
In closing, what would you want to say to those DAYS fans who loved your performances as Eve, and to those who have supported you throughout your daytime career, and all the twists and turns along the way?
KASSIE: My “thank you” and my gratitude goes to the overall soap opera fan, and after being on four of these soap operas. (Laughs) It’s nice to have fans that follow you from soap to soap, and nice to bring new viewers to new soaps that follow you. Then it’s nice just to meet new people along the way. I think I had an opportunity with doing the two Day of DAYS events, and a couple of other events in Washington D.C. where I had a couple nice one on ones with some really wonderful fans. I love soap opera fans, and they love storytelling. I am just glad to be a part of the bigger picture.
So, are you excited to see the One Life to Live reunion on the Valentine’s Day episode of Castle? What did you think about Kassie’s sentiments on Nathan Fillion and Tuc Watkins, and missing Llanview? Are you rooting for Kassie to land a final spot in the Lead Actress category for the Daytime Emmys, when the nominations are revealed on March 24th? What did you think about her final DAYS scenes as Eve, and her love of the soap medium and its fans? Post your thoughts in the comment section below!