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DAYS's Stacy Haiduk On Playing A Villain

Have you always gravitated toward bad girl roles? “Always. I started out playing good girls and it’s fun for a while, but I gotta tell you, when you play a villain, you get into a headspace that’s very different than when you’re just playing flowers and sweetness. I’ve played many, many roles and some are much darker than others. With Kristen, what I love about her is that it’s not all dark. I don’t like when they let villains become dark and they’re just one way or the other way. Most people are gray, so there’s a middle road where they do good things. Sometimes they do bad things for the right reasons and sometimes, they just have a dark side that they can’t control. With Kristen, it’s the passion that drives her. There’s something deeper inside her. She has a lot of emotion that she takes out in the wrong ways, and maybe if she sat down with a therapist, it would help. But I don’t think anyone can say that playing a villain is boring.”

What would you say are Kristen’s redeeming qualities? “I don’t think she ever wants to hurt anybody; they just get in her way. She’s a good friend, she would make a good wife to Brady if he actually committed himself to her and I think she’s a really good mother. And she’s honest and open. She gets a little jealous and does things and manipulates, but I think she does it for the right reasons.”

When you took over the role in 2018, was there anything that stood out to you about Kristen’s past misdeeds? “In my own actor’s brain, I go, ‘Okay, well that’s not so bad, you know, it’s okay …’ When they told me she drugged Eric [and had sex with him when he was a priest in 2013], maybe, but I played a really horrible character on a CSI once, so nothing could really compare to that character I played.”

What do you think is the most villainous thing Kristen has done since you took over? “It might be the masks. She kidnapped Nicole then took over her persona and went around Salem. And then did it again and again [with Sarah and Kate]. If it works, all the better!”

Kristen has had many partners in crime over the years. Who do you think she works with best? “Well, I think Ava. I’d like to see more of the two of them. Xander and Kristen are really good together. They have a really good relationship in the dark walk of villainy. What I think would be really fun is to have all of the evil women get together and wreak havoc on Salem.”

How do you justify Kristen’s actions? “Even on set, they always say Kristen killed Haley and you know, no, that did not happen. I say, ‘I didn’t kill her! It was an accident! There was not a malicious act in it!’ I think Kristen threatens a lot and does scare people to a degree, but they always just get in her way is the problem. She didn’t do what Xander did. I hear Brady buried someone alive when he was in his bad boy phase. And I’m like, ‘Well, Kristen hasn’t done that!’ ”

Do you ever worry she’ll become too evil? “I don’t know. I think they can redeem a lot of the characters, but I do get afraid sometimes that they’ll make her go too far. I like to see the balance with her and I try to find the balance. You can get caught up in playing the character with a total evil sense, so you have to find the deeper part and that’s the love of Brady and Rachel. She finally has this child that she’s always wanted, so I think that always has to be underneath all that she does. Even when she’s doing something bad, she has to feel that there’s love out there for her. But then again, I’m up for it. If it goes down that path, hopefully they’ll redeem her and bring her back to another place.”

Is her love for Brady her saving grace? “She’s very passionate. She definitely is very much in love with Brady. There’s a lot of love and heart and anger and passion in the love that she has for Brady. You feel it. I think that fans, as much as they love him with other characters or people, I think they can’t deny the energy that Brady and Kristen have together. You want to see the tension, you want to see the passion, you want to see what comes out of it. It’s something that Eric [Martsolf, Brady] and I have worked on through the years of working together. The more comfortable you get together, we banter, we find a way to make it through a scene. I hope fans keep rooting for her and the ‘Bristen’ relationship because I think there’s something really deep in it and I love working with Eric, and hope that will continue some sort of way down the line.”

Have you had any memorable fan encounters since playing Kristen? “I’ve had a few of them who pretend they’re Susan and they’ll go, ‘Kristen DiMera, you are just mean, mean, mean!’ And I just go, ‘Oh, my God! I’m not! I’m not Kristen right now. I’m Stacy. I’m not mean!’ They have this love/hate relationship, like, ‘I can’t believe you did this,’ and I’ll say, ‘I’m Stacy!’ But I love it. At first it was hard because I was like, ‘No, I’m nice, I’m kind,’ but after all these years, I like playing the bad girl. She’s fun.”