As guests on Digest’s podcast, Dishing With Digest, Leann Hunley (Anna) and Thaao Penghlis (Tony) opened up about their recent return to Salem.
Hunley, who began playing Anna in 1982, claimed that it’s surprisingly easy for her to find the character when she’s called back to DAYS duty. “People say, how can you go back after 20 years, and how hard is it to get back to that character? Honestly, I zip her on like pulling up a zipper on a suit or a snowsuit! All of a sudden, I’m in that character and she just comes out! I don’t know. I can’t even control her sometimes!”
Both actors acknowledged that they have to be more prepared than ever, as the show’s Covid protocols prohibit face-to-face rehearsal. Penghlis noted, “Now that we’ve gone back, it’s kind of interesting because there’s another dimension, which is even tougher than it was before, and that is with the Covid, you can’t even rehearse with your actors and so you really have to be on the ball with whatever situation they give you.” But Hunley pointed out that they are well-prepared to meet such a challenge, opining, “In these Covid days, with not being able to rehearse very much, or just over a phone, that is what has allowed us to make it work, [that] initial soap opera training, because we are always doing every range of emotion, every kind of scene, every kind of interaction that you could imagine. And now it’s at warp speed, and with Covid, it’s now at double warp speed. You just really have to create those ideas and things in your own mind and then work with your other actors at the moment it happens. It’s very spontaneous.”
Hunley and Penghlis feel that their decades of experience working together help them re-establish their on-screen chemistry when the cameras roll. In daytime, Hunley said, “You have to build chemistry really quickly [and] I think that’s really what happened naturally with Thaao and me…. We learned how to feed off of each other’s energy and highs and lows and work like a married couple, really.” Penghlis added, “Once you get the first scene over, then all those things, the memory muscle comes back and you’re back in your element. And the important thing is that you must enjoy it. That’s probably the other thing with Leann and I: We always enjoy each other. That’s at the base. It’s like a chicken broth of a recipe you’re making…. We have a lot going for us.”