Best In Show: Drake Hogestyn

Favorite thing about playing John? “What I like about John Black goes all the way back to when I read for [former DAYS Casting Director] Doris Sabbagh. She started describing the character and I said, ‘Doris, time out.’ I reached into my satchel and pulled out Robert Ludlum’s book The Bourne Identity. I said, ‘This is the most riveting character. I’m on pins and needles.’ Doris said, ‘Oh, my God. We talked about [Jason Bourne]. We can’t license the name, but we’re going to take the initials JB, and call him John Black.’ That was the reason [I took the job]. My manager and agent fought me. They did not want me to do daytime. But I said, ‘It’s an amazing character.’ Just the whole idea of this guy who didn’t know who he was. How did he find himself? And, of course, that was all because of Marlena.”

Best thing about working with Deidre Hall (Marlena)?“She’s beautiful. She’s brilliant. She’s respectful. She’s talented. It’s only exceeded by her big heart. We work totally different, though. Me, I come from that baseball background. And what is it? Practice, practice, practice. I am always studying, making little adjustments, and thinking about [the work] all the time. Deidre can be just the opposite. She’ll come in and look over the arc that we’re going to be doing, so she knows where we’re going. But she would rather come in and be fresh; pick it up, build on it, and bring it up to speed when we’re on the set. We’ve learned to play off that together really well. We’ve said it before: We’re a safety net for one another. We protect each other. We catch each other. We complete each other’s thoughts. What I take away from Deidre is trust, and with that, the finished product will be there at the end of the day.”

Favorite location shoot? “When we went over to Greece back in 1987. It was the most amazing trip ever. The night we got there, my buddy John Aniston [ex-Victor] grabbed his wife, Sherry, me and [my wife] Victoria and said, ‘Okay, stay with me. I know this town like the back of my hand. I’m going to show you the best places to eat and everything else.’ We shot in The Acropolis and at the Temple of Poseidon. I remember being miked up and standing on this cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea, and there were 20 different shades of colors. I was talking to myself, rambling on and on, ‘This makes Malibu look like dog meat.’ It was beautiful. We couldn’t shoot inside any of the temples. At one point Al [Rabin, former co-executive producer] came up and said, ‘They had a guard change down at the shack. I went down and flipped the guy some drachmas. So we’re going to do one shot really fast. Drake and Genie [Francis, ex-Diana], get all the way at the end of the Temple of Poseidon and walk slowly to the columns. The wind will be blowing and then, boom, you take her into the romance novel kiss.’ It was their first kiss. We went up to the Poseidon and started walking. Then the other guard returned to the shack, saw us, ran down and jumped in from of the camera, but after we got the shot in.”

Favorite storyline? “The initial one. My first three-to-four months on the show. We finished it up in the Current River and the rapids. Marlena found the before and after pictures [of Roman] and the doctor who had supposedly put him back together. That was an amazing time that I always reflect back on with a smile. I can’t believe that was 37 years ago. Also it was the newness of the daytime experience, the acceptance from the established cast members, and how I just stole and cheated and took everything I could from them. They helped me through for the first few months.” Most memorable scene? “It was when Marlena ‘died’. Orpheus had blown her up. [Roman] was on a jet coming home and was looking out a window. He had been given a note she had written. It said, ‘Roman, if you get this, it’s because I’m no longer here. I’m dead.’ The weirdest thing happened. It was just one shot with the camera on me reading that note and looking out the window. All of a sudden, the tears started. I went, ‘Oh, my God. That’s amazing.’ That stood out. How did that happen? Where did that come from? There are a thou- sand million scenes, but that moment was just an awareness as an actor. I remember that scene, and I’m sure the audience will, too.”

Best thing about working with Martha Madison (Belle)? “We have a great father/daughter bond. I love kids. I had four kids. Now I have five grandkids, and we’re working on a sixth. I’ve always enjoyed working with kids, with the younger adults. It’s easier when you are a father and then a real hands-on father, especially when you have such talented actors that know how to play good daughters. You can just talk to her, and it all translates. It’s seamless. She comes in totally prepared, as everybody does. She knows what she wants to do. She takes chances. She makes bold choices. She 100 percent swings for the fences. That’s my takeaway with Martha.”

Best thing about working with Eric Martsolf (Brady)? “That kid is so talented and so accommodating. If anybody wants to do anything, make any changes in the scenes or in their dialogue, he’s like, ‘Yeah. That’s fine. Let’s go.’ He rolls with everything. He’ll get on the same page and make it his in two seconds. He’s that bright with the dialogue, and he has such a natural delivery. And he has an Emmy. There’s a reason behind that. It’s the naturalness of what he does. I’m just really lucky that Eric and Martha and Deidre just pull me along. I just kind of put my fingers to my lips and go, ‘Shh. Don’t tell anybody.’ ”

Best memory of working with Staci Greason (ex-Isabella): “That was interesting. They were going to do a story with Hunter Tylo [ex-Marina], and then she left the show. It was kind of spur of the moment. Al Rabin told me, ‘We think you’re going to have a story with the girl with the hair in the insane asylum.’ They started working us together, and there were a few moments. I remember she cooked for me. I was sitting at the table and in the middle of the scene I thought, ‘There’s some really neat stuff happening here.’ These are the moments that build characters. I could feel there was stuff happening, and it wasn’t forced. During the storyline when Isabella was dying, Staci and I couldn’t go through dress rehearsal. We couldn’t say the dialogue. It was all coming up in our throats. I remember that final good-bye when Isabella held a party for everybody. At the end, she thanked everybody and said, ‘John and I are on our way to Italy.’ Then the whole thing with the gondolier and all that stuff. Those six weeks of storyline were like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It was some of the most emotional stuff I’d done.”

Best on-screen friendship? “Obviously, my buddy Steve. That would be the guy who had me as The Pawn, when he was working for Kiriakis. I lived with him as The Pawn, and he kept waiting for the ransom to go higher and higher. Then Steve was going to trade me in. There have been a lot of twists and turns on this crazy soap opera. Now Steve and John are friends. A lot of it is that they’re both desperately in love, John with Marlena and Steve with Kayla. They share that. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for [their wives]. They see eye-to-eye. If it’s left up to them, they’re going to do what’s right at all costs.”

Best wedding? “I don’t know if guys ever have weddings that are their favorite. I remember the first couple of ones. John and Marlena have gone through three or four weddings. We did the big one [as Roman and Marlena] in ’86 right away. There were a couple of others. One was over in Italy. It was impromptu. I remember the wedding with Isabella when she had the baby. John and Marlena also got married at the Penthouse Grill, then went on their honeymoon. It was the honeymoon where John was kidnapped and brought to the submarine. That was really great and a lot of fun.”

Favorite on-screen foe? “It would be Joe [Mascolo, ex-Stefano] without a doubt. He was an amazing guy, and I really did love him. Stefano was the guy who was pretty much in on the whole thing with Kiriakis. He basically created John. I loved the mind games between them, the cat and mouse. John wanted to get into Stefano’s head as much as Stefano wanted to get into his head. There were a lot of interesting twists and turns. There were some scenes where I felt like I was doing a movie of the week with Joe. At one point, I shot his tires, his car exploded and went over a cliff. Everybody thought that I had killed him. It was the beginning of the Maison Blanche story.”

Most memorable honeymoon? “When John got kidnapped. There was a lot of great action-adventure. I got to do all my stunts out in the water. They brought in the crew from Waterworld, the movie that Kevin Costner did. They wanted to know how long I could hold my breath. I said, ‘I can give you a minute and 45 seconds as I’m letting air out slowly to sink to the bottom.’ It was so cool. They had the camera on me as I was starting on my float down. Then the camera rolled around, and you saw two frogmen swimming toward me. The frogmen separated, but they had a net and scooped me up. Then they showed the submarine laying on the bottom. That was awesome. Once they threw me in the torpedo hole, we went into the studio to do the interiors. Hope opened up the torpedo basin and pulled John in.”

Best caught-you-off-guard story? “The whole backstory of Father John. That was the whole reason Stefano lured him down to Maison Blanche. It was like, ‘Oh, you thought you were a priest? Ha, ha, ha. You messed with my girl.’ Because Stefano knew that John was having an affair with Princess Gina behind his back. That was where the big falling-out happened between them. They had been in cahoots together for years. That was the whole backstory that they wrote. That was fun, and seeing them move forward from there.”