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Matthew Ashford's Five Greatest DAYS

A TRAGIC TURN (1987)

"In the course of planning Kayla's rape, [the producers] gave Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) and me the leeway of trying to work the scenes out. I generally said that there were some things I wanted to do and asked if it was okay, and they said yes. So Mary Beth and I were able to plot our own way, and I felt like I was able to establish that it was a terrible tragedy, but that it wasn't just a one-way villain story. Jack was part of this tragedy, as well. Rather than stalking around Kayla or standing over her at the end of it, they allowed Jack to be in kind of a fetal position down at the other end of the couch from where Kayla was. So they both were messed up. They allowed more of a multilayered telling of the story. It wasn't just black and white. It didn't just become good girl/bad guy."


HOARSE-ING AROUND (1990)

"We went on location to Pasadena [Calif.] when Jack kidnapped Jennifer from the church as she was getting ready to marry Emilio. I was in a fireman's outfit. Jack came running out the church with Jennifer. He got her on top of the fire truck, and they took off. It was a long shot. Jennifer was yelling at Jack and beating on his chest. Jack was yelling back, trying to calm her down. Meanwhile, the crew was about half a block away with the camera. I was being kind of stupid and did the whole scene full out. I was yelling as if they could hear me. Well, they couldn't hear me, because the microphones were way back with the crew. By the time we finished all that, I was hoarse. I had no voice. Then, the producer, Al Rabin, said he wanted to take Missy and me to the next location. I was freaking out, because I knew we were about to go shoot all the rest of our scenes, the little two-person scenes, and I barely had a voice. I had to work that way the rest of the day. If you were to go back and watch the tapes, you'd notice it."


SUDS AND SOBS (1991)

"There was a long time when Jack wouldn't commit to Jennifer, but he wouldn't leave her alone, either. He would always make sure that any relationship she had would fall apart, because he would find some way to mess it up. It was very hard for Jennifer, because she wanted this relationship. I'll always remember this scene I did with Missy where Jennifer was in a bubble bath. She just needed some time alone. Jack was at the door, trying to make some emphatic point to her, when the door busted open, he fell into the bathroom and into the tub with Jennifer. He was fully clothed; she was not. Jack was lying there, all covered with suds. It was supposed to be a funny moment and it was. Then, Jennifer started to cry and said, 'Jack, please go. Please, don't do this any more. If you can't love me and commit to me, please, leave me alone.' She was so embarrassed. To me, it was the best a scene could be, because it started out inherently funny, but became emotional, tragic and sad. It was wonderful the way the whole thing played out."


GIVE ME A BRAKE (1991)

"During Jack and Jennifer's wedding at Universal Studios, I was sitting on this box and Missy was sitting on my knee. During the scene, this whole building was supposed to fall down around us. The people who worked at the park repeatedly said that it was a safe trick. We just had to sit there and not move as the building crashed down around us. The one thing I was told to do was to keep my foot on the brake. It was a safety mechanism for the whole stunt. If my foot wasn't on it, it meant I was out of position. They said, 'If you take your foot off the safety brake, what you'll do is cause an internal brake to take place, which keeps the house from falling down. It's very hard on the whole mechanism, because the whole building has to stop as it's in the middle of falling down.' Well, we were shooting and, sure enough, I took my foot off the brake. Everything came to a screeching halt. It just screamed. You could hear it all through the park. I was like, 'Yes, that was me.'"


RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (2004)

"When we were on [Melaswen] Island, we got to do a lot of 'Action Jackson' stuff. That was fun. That was when Jennifer and Jack finally found each other, again, in this cave. Jennifer found out that Jack wasn't dead. Jack was lying there, and he and Jennifer were both delirious. Maybe you can chalk up what happened to that. There was a moment when Jennifer said to Jack, 'Tell me what's going on. What's happened?' I had to say something like, 'Them,' or, 'They're coming.' I really went traumatic with the line. I went to total dramaland, to the dark side of soapland. I played it like it was a gothic horror thing. Well, Missy held on for as long as she could. Then she started screaming, she was laughing so hard. She couldn't believe I did it."

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