Interview

DAYS's Alison Sweeney Reflects On Sami's Three Loves

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Sami had three very important romances, with Lucas, Rafe and EJ. What were your first impressions of Bryan R. Dattilo (Lucas), Galen Gering (Rafe) and James Scott (ex-EJ)?
“Bryan and I were friends right from the beginning. I think since we both started DAYS so close together, we were kind of in it together. Learning side by side. And that feeling has been there ever since. He’s such a good guy and a hard-working actor.  It was a different experience working with Galen because we’d known each other for so long prior to him joining DAYS. So my first impressions of him were more distant. He’s a big personality, a really outgoing, friendly guy. James won me over right from the day I met him at the talent test. He was charming and clearly a talented actor. He was confident but also really willing to work together to make the scene the best we could.”

When did you first get a sense your pairings with each actor were working?
“With Bryan, we worked together for so long — also before social media — so it was a long time before we realized there was a real ‘Lumi’ fan base out there cheering for them to get together. But once the powers-that-be put Lucas and Sami together, we heard the cheers loud and clear. When they put Sami and Rafe together in the ‘safe house’ with all that cute banter and classic romantic set-up, I think we sort of knew from the outset that this had a real chance of working. Galen and I had both been working in the genre for a while so we both kind of knew this was really going to work. The EJ and Sami dynamic was strong from the beginning. They’d always had Sami as the third wheel in the Austin/Carrie relationship, so for her to be EJ’s No. 1, that was a huge turning point in Sami’s overall arc. I think that groundwork between the two, the romance, he’s a DiMera, she’s a Brady backstory, and the chemistry fostered a really strong fan base.”

Why do you think these pairings have been so successful and resonated with fans?
“To me, each couple had their own unique development, in ways that really spoke to fans. ‘Lumi’ was all about their original friendship, being in ‘cahoots’ together and then their years of bickering. Working through all that history really earned their fandom. A big part of the ‘Safe’ success was how different Rafe was with Sami. He is a true hero. In some ways what she always tried to force with Austin was right there for her with Rafe. He’s the good guy who loves Sami in spite of herself. How do you not love that? EJ, again, is totally different. He’s the bad boy she’s supposed to stay away from, which of course is tempting. And Sami couldn’t help being drawn to how he was always so charmed by her antics.”

What does that mean to you that fans were so invested in each of your big romances?
“As difficult as it was to walk a tightrope between the fan bases, trying not to take sides, overall it’s incredibly flattering to know your performances are inspiring such enthusiasm. And it was always close to my thoughts on set — we would always think about little things we could do that the fans would catch and love.”

How do you think each relationship changed Sami?
“Lucas is the hardest to quantify. Over the years, Lucas has represented a lot of different things to Sami. He was a teenage crush, a partner in crime, an arch-nemesis, a loving husband and a best friend. I think he made her better at all those things. Rafe inspired Sami to be her best possible self. That wasn’t always easy for her, and sometimes it seemed they were writing a deep insecurity in Sami that she wasn’t good enough for Rafe. But she had always yearned for a good, strong man like Rafe to choose her, to love her. And I definitely think that getting to experience that love, that relationship made her a better person. It helped her get past those childish Austin-obsessed years. EJ could definitely bring out the most extremes in Sami’s personality. The best and worst in her. In the end, he brought out her confidence in herself and helped her worry less about what her family thought of her.”

Favorite supercouple storyline?
“I think the ‘Syd-napping’ story arc was one of the best I was a part of on DAYS.”

Favorite supercouple moment?
“For fun, I loved the on-the-run literal cliffhanger storyline during the Olympics break one summer.”

Favorite wedding?
“That’s a tough call. I think my favorite wedding was the Vegas non-wedding to Austin. Does that count?”

Favorite wedding dress?
“The princess dress when Sami finally married Lucas. But it’s a tough call. [Costume Designer] Richard Bloore has made so many beautiful dresses for Sami to get married in over the years!”

Favorite thing about working with Bryan/Galen/James?
“Bryan: Our shared history/memories at DAYS. And movie quotes. Galen: He always lifted my spirits and made me laugh. James: He had an uncanny knack for making every scene better than how I first read it.”

 

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