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Daytime Emmy Nominee Q&A: Eric Martsolf (Brady, Days of our Lives)

The 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be held on Friday, June 7, with the ceremony airing live on CBS starting at 8 p.m. ET. Soap Opera Digest chatted with the nominees to get the scoop on how they found out, what episodes they submitted, and more as we count down to daytime’s biggest night!

Eric Martsolf


Outstanding Lead Actor

Eric Martsolf (Brady, Days of our Lives)

You won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2014. Would winning for Outstanding Lead Actor mean more to you?

“I love this question because I’ve always felt that this whole soap opera thing is a team sport. I always thought that the idea of a lead actor versus a supporting actor was silly because I truly believe that we’re all supporting each other. Whether it’s in a scene or in a cast or even in the genre all together, we support each other. So I don’t think so. I would be just as proud receiving an Emmy in the supporting category as the lead category. Going for lead is a matter of, it was just time. After 21 years, I felt like that’s maybe the ring I should throw my hat into, and I feel comfortable doing that at this point in my career.”

What are your thoughts about the competition in your category?

“Every gentleman has an Emmy or multiple Emmys on their shelves. They have them for a reason. They’re all good. They’re all strong. How do I put it? We’re all Seabiscuits in the sense that I think everyone in this category can win. I don’t think there’s one giant favorite horse in this race, and that makes it really interesting. There are some gentlemen who rightly have held that mantle very high, and it does seem like the roughest ladder to climb, especially when you’re a younger actor and you’ve admired these men’s work for so long. My mother was such a fan of Eric Braeden [Victor, Young and Restless]. She just loved Victor her whole life. My biggest regret is that she’s not here to see that these two Erics are going to go up for the same trophy.”

How did you find out you were nominated?

“I actually opened my phone on a day that was hard for me, because I was going through my parents’ inherited cottage that my brother [Justin] and I had decided to sell. We were in northern Michigan. We were in the attic looking through photo albums. We were taking silverware out of the drawers. We were taking [my mother’s] own watercolor artwork off of the walls and putting them in bins. My brother and I decided to meet up there and do this together as a force, and it was a hard day. We went to lunch, and there were tears and angst. But then all of a sudden out of the blue, there was this little text from Andrea McKinnon, our publicist, and it said, ‘Congratulations.’ In true fashion, I had forgotten that the announcements were happening that day. I had other things on my mind, and that’s when I realized, ‘Oh my God. What a beautiful cherry to put on a tough day.’ ”

Did you do anything to celebrate your nomination?

“My brother and I went to one of our parents’ old joints called Mitchell Street Pub, and we both ordered olive burgers. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of those. It’s basically a burger with olive mayonnaise all over it. It’s not the best thing for you healthwise, but [my parents] loved it, and I wanted to eat that burger in solidarity with my parents. I can’t tell you how interesting it felt to have the nomination come on that day. It was as if my mom and dad just reached down and said, ‘It’s going to be OK. Don’t worry about the cottage. Enjoy your nomination and go get [the win].’”

What scenes did you submit?

“This year, Kristen and Brady have had some really come-to-head moments, and it’s been all about Rachel and the custodial fight for her. And both players have been slightly manipulative in their tactics. The scene that I started my reel with was Brady’s breaking point. He literally takes his father’s gun, goes over to Kristen, points it at her, and says, ‘Give me my daughter.’ He’s breaking, and you don’t know whether he is going to pull the trigger or not… I felt my reel was strong. Stacy Haiduk [Kristen] is in probably 80% of it. And when she and I get fiery, it’s just fun because she gives it right back. We play some fiery ping pong with each other, with these two very unstable characters. I think it makes for good TV at times. I think my reel is kind of a compilation of Kristen and Brady’s greatest hits last year as far as their frustration for one another.”

Did you receive any congratulatory messages that stood out to you?

“The first person that reached out to me to say congratulations was Eva [Bassler, Bold and Beautiful’s publicist], when she had ‘her three boys’ get nominated in my category as well. She called me to say, ‘I’m so proud.’ I thought that was beautiful. We have our history from Passions [where Martsolf played Ethan Winthrop], but it reminded me how close our circle is in daytime. Of course, I received many congratulatory messages. I did get one from Linsey Godfrey [Sarah, DAYS] that was very heartfelt. She was very specific as to why she felt I deserved to be in there and how much she appreciated my work. From an actor’s point of view, she was very complimentary. Then she ended up getting nominated too. So I was like, ‘Well, right back at you, girl.’”

Who’ll be accompanying you to the Daytime Emmy ceremony?

“Definitely Lisa [Martsolf’s wife]. And I’m actually contemplating, if I can swing this somehow… My two boys are dying to go. They really want to go, and I really, really want to dress them up too. I want to see them in suits. I want to see them dressed up. They’re always in sweats and jeans. I want to see how handsome they look in suits, and they’ve shown interest in going. And, hey, I’m dealing with them potentially going away to college and becoming an empty nester at this point in my life. So a part of me just really wants to bring them and share it with them. I’ll look into it. It might [cost] a small fortune…”

The lead actress nominees have an annual lunch that’s hosted by the previous year’s winner. Would you like to see something like that for the lead actors?

“I’m so jealous of that. I wish the boys would do it. It should be [hosted by] one of the giant vets, who’s been on soaps for over 40 years. We should all go over to his house. We should all go over to Eric’s [Braeden] house.”

Lastly, what about a potential acceptance speech? Will you prepare something or are you a wing-it guy?

“I have thoughts in my head, but I certainly don’t construct them on a piece of paper. I don’t have a cheat sheet. You think about who you would say thank you to. You’d run that by in your head. I’m a big believer in getting up there and speaking from your heart. It might come out kind of funky, but that’s all part of it. My favorite speeches in award shows are the ones that are off the cuff.”