INTERVIEW

Cady McClain On Wrapping DAYS Run

Cady McClain, who took over the role of Jennifer last October when Melissa Reeves opted not to return in light of Covid, has completed her run — and has nothing but good things to say about her time in Salem. “I was really grateful for the opportunity and it was very special,” she says. “I felt like I was revisiting some of the golden years of what soaps can be. DAYS is a beautiful show that really honors its past and its history. The storyline was so well-plotted that every time I worked, there was something special about that day.”

Prior to getting the DAYS call, the actress hadn’t worked on a soap since she played Y&R’s mentally unstable Kelly, Stitch’s sister and Jack’s lover, from 2014-15. “What I learned was that it’s like riding a bicycle, to some degree, that the years of carrying heavy storyline have built a certain muscle in me that’s still there — and it’s good to know it’s still there. But if you don’t have the material, if you don’t have support from production, that muscle is all for naught, you know? You can only do so much. I found that all those pieces were there, happily, and I was able to do my best work because of those circumstances — great writing, great actors around me, kind people, support from production. I remember thanking Deidre [Hall, Marlena] because I feel that she is one of the head women of that show, thanking her for being a part of creating that environment where everyone can flourish and try to do their best work.”

McClain can’t single out a favorite memory of her time on the show, but notes, “I loved working with Judi Evans [Bonnie]. She’s just a delightful human and there was a real special relationship that we developed even in the few days that we worked together. Working with Matthew [Ashford, Jack] — I mean, can you imagine how weird that must have been for him? Like, ‘Hi! Here’s a totally new face in a character you are so used to being someone you have a long friendship with!’ His kindness, and the kindness of all those people, stick out more than any particular day. It’s a really special cast. They are just lovely, lovely people.”

One memorable day on set, she even got to once again share the stage with her real-life husband, Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan, GH), who was her AS THE WORLD TURNS co-star when they played Craig and Rosanna; he doubled for Ashford so that Jennifer and Jack could share an on-screen kiss. “I give it five stars!” she winks of his performance. She also cherished participating in the time-honored tradition of hanging the Horton Christmas tree ornaments. “I am so, so grateful that I got to be a part of that Christmas show,” she enthuses. “Being there with Bill [Hayes, Doug] and Susan [Seaforth Hayes, Julie] and him telling stories on set of the Christmas ornaments, the first Christmas ornaments from DAYS OF OUR LIVES being in the Smithsonian, and what a big deal that was — that piece of history is so exquisitely beautiful and important, and I think resonates for a lot of people. I just got to be one of the lucky ones who got to be on the set with the two of them doing it! It was incredibly cool.”

The show even worked in a wink to the infamous way McClain was killed off as ALL MY CHILDREN’s Dixie (via a batch of poisoned pancakes), scripting a moment where Julie offers the breakfast item to an eye-rolling Jennifer. “I completely understood that it was just like that Marvel series, WANDA VISION, where they put in these Easter eggs just for the fans,” the actress says. “That’s exactly what this was: It was an Easter egg for the ALL MY CHILDREN fans, for them to have a giggle, and the writer letting them know, ‘We know you watch! We know you were there!’ It was a good laugh had by all. I did, and I hope other people did, too.”

McClain also had a blast playing a young Laura in flashback scenes set in the 1990s. “Oh, my gosh, that was so fun! I loved doing that. When I was younger, you know, that look was absolutely what all the top ladies got to wear, and I was wearing it as a flashback! I was like, ‘Oh, my God!’ It was so much fun, too, to embody a little bit of that acting style from back then. I could really do that all the time. If they wanted to do like six weeks of the show circa 1990, I would be like, ‘I’m all in! All in!’ And more importantly, I got to keep one of the jackets, the black one with the white stripes that she wore at the café with the little pin at the neck. I said, ‘Richard [Bloore, costume designer], I love this jacket.’ So he was very kind and he let me keep it, so I am living my ’90s dream here at home in my Covid life [laughs].”

McClain says she “of course” would happily return if the show asked her back, but adds, “I also understand if they need their Missy back! I have complete understanding for that, too, so whatever is meant to be, I’m okay with it. As they say, no one ever dies in daytime. Nothing ever ends, you know? You just pause for a moment. It may be years, or you show up somewhere else, or you’re a different character — you just never know what’s going to happen! I was just happy to play out my arc and to keep this character on the canvas and support the show and get to do my thing, my contribution to it.”

She is grateful to DAYS viewers for embracing her portrayal. “I wanted to give my best and I’m really grateful my efforts were well-received,” McClain begins. “To the fans, I would say, ‘Thank you!’ They have been absolutely wonderful to me. They gave me a fair chance to prove myself as I was able to bring my skills and bring my interpretation of this character and her history. I just really appreciate their kindness, I really do.”

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