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Greg Rikaart On His DAYS Return

Greg Rikaart is back for another run as the outrageous and havoc-wreaking Leo Stark on DAYS, a character he created back in 2018 and is still going strong some four years later.

“I don’t think I gave it that kind of thought,” says Rikaart, reflecting on his longevity with the soap. “But I’m thrilled that that’s turned out to be the case, because Leo is just such a fun character to play. He’s devious, but there’s something really playful about him, even though he’s doing bad things from time to time. And, at least recently, none of it’s been truly damning; particularly the stuff he got to do in the spin-offs [Peacock’s DAYS OF OUR LIVES: BEYOND SALEM and DAYS OF OUR LIVES: A VERY SALEM CHRISTMAS]. He was sort of bad, but also helping in his own way and doing something good.”

Rikaart was working on the first Peacock special when he received a call about another return to the network show. “I can’t remember if it was from my manager or Marnie [Saitta, DAYS’s casting director], but it usually comes from one of them,” notes Rikaart. “When Billy [Flynn, Chad], Chandler [Massey, Will] and Zach [Tinker, Sonny] and I were doing the Peacock stuff, it really felt like what we were doing was jumping off the page quite a bit. We were all thrilled with the reaction to what we were doing on that. So I was pleasantly surprised that I got the call to return to the mothership show. It also felt like maybe there was more to explore with the dynamics of these characters together and beyond that foursome.”

Although Rikaart also recurs as Kevin on Y&R, coming up with a schedule that would accommodate both shows was not a problem. “For better or for worse, I’m not particularly heavily utilized at Y&R at the moment,” points out the actor. “So there haven’t been any challenges there, which is great. I started back at DAYS in October, shortly after the Peacock stuff wrapped.”

Rikaart was filled in on some of the storyline specifics before he reported for work at the studio. “I found out that I was coming back to be the love interest of a character who had been there,” he shares. “That relationship would, of course, have ramifications for other characters on the show, who are not at all pleased about Leo’s return and also his involvement with that character. There become multiple efforts from many different people to try and sabotage that relationship, much to Leo’s chagrin.”

The twists and turns will continue for months, as Rikaart’s back for a lengthy run. “I’m still there,” he reveals, “although I think I’m in a different arc now. I’m there indefinitely. I’m having more fun now than ever.”

And it’s largely because of Leo’s brazenness. “Playing this character is such a gift,” admits Rikaart. “He really does have a larger-than-life personality. And the way Richard [Bloore, costume designer] and everyone in wardrobe dresses him really helps. The clothes make the man as they say. I put on those really loud suits — clothes that I wouldn’t wear and clothes that Kevin wouldn’t wear — and it really helps me morph into who this guy is.”

Sometimes, Leo’s wardrobe choices make Rikaart “laugh out loud,” he muses. “Other times, I’m like, ‘Of course Leo would wear this.’ There are times I wish I had Leo’s confidence to pull off some of the things that he pulls off.” Yet, never ever has Rikaart nixed wearing one of Leo’s wardrobe offerings. “I might have that thought as Greg, but I don’t think there would be anything too outrageous for Leo. Wait till you see. There are some crazy things that he ends up wearing this time.”

Rikaart is up for every over-the-top look and every wild plot twist that comes down the pike for Leo. “I’m having a great time,” he asserts. “I love the way they write for Leo. I get really excited when I get an email with a new script. I can’t wait to see what he’s doing next.”