DAYS’s Camila Banus and Brandon Barash Talk About The Past, Present And Future Of Their On-Screen Pairings.
Soap Opera Digest: Brandon, you came in as a quick recast for Tyler Christopher. Did you two have any interaction before you jumped into the story?
Brandon Barash: Zero. I think we met on my first day when we filmed our first scene. Everything was on the spot, including this crazy chemistry that people are talking about.
Digest: Did you hit it off right away?
Barash: I think we get along well. We respect one another. We respect each other’s process and that’s a big part of it, too, when there’s a mutual respect between actors.
Banus: I think we’re both professional and keep it funny, too. We’re always joking around, which is nice and good.
Digest: Camila, what did you think when you heard your characters would be paired up?
Banus: It was such new pairing for me because I had come from a different group of actors that I was always working with, the Will, Sonny and Chad characters. And it was a big difference for me because they were introducing this new DiMera family member that I hadn’t heard of. But it was just interesting to include this new DiMera character that had so much power, and for Gabi to be involved with him or have the potential involvement, was exciting.
Digest: Do you remember how you approached the story? Did you talk about how you would play the scenes?
Barash: No, that’s not really how I like to work. I don’t want to speak for Camila, so I guess I’ll let her add on to it, but it doesn’t seem that she rolls that way.
Banus: That is something we have in common.
Barash: I like to show up and have it be like a good tennis match. You don’t know how the ball is coming your way, you just have to take each ball for what it is. And that’s what I love so much about what we do, especially in the daytime medium. There’s not time for planning.
Banus: I was just going to say that we don’t have the time and we have so much material to go through day by day that it would be so hard. We’d have to come home and then start working on that material and be taken away from our families yet again to discuss what we would be doing for the next day when we have a very short turnaround. So it would be much harder.
Barash: That’s part of the fun, too — surprising your partner. Camila definitely knows that I like doing that. I will hold something back until we actually do the take as opposed to the rehearsal, and I’ll do something completely new and different. Some actors like when you do that and some actors don’t. So, luckily, Camila just kinda rolls with it.
Banus: Oh, yeah, 100 percent. I don’t mind at all. We go through so much material and I think it’s what keeps it light and keeps it easy.
Digest: Well, the audience response to your pairing was and is very positive. Were you very pleased about that? Were you surprised?
Barash: I kind of go into things with as few expectations as possible, so of course, it’s always a nice surprise when a pairing takes off. And certainly when you’re a recast, it’s very nice to know that your character and your portrayal is being well received.
Banus: I mean, for me, it was great. This is gonna be sad to hear, but it doesn’t matter at the end of the day what happens, because whatever is written on the page is what we have to do. But it was really nice that we had such great feedback from the fans with our pairing.
Digest: Did you feel like you were clicking and getting into a rhythm?
Banus: I think with every person that you get paired with, you have some sort of rhythm because of the timing of how we work. We work so fast. It’s just impossible to not get into that tennis match kind of thing. And we have gotten quite a huge word load. We’ve gotten a lot of scenes where it’s just been, like, non-stop for us, and you have to get into that natural rhythm or else we’re just going to implode.
Barash: You can certainly feel when you’re hitting it off with an actor and when you’re not. And, yes, I felt it immediately again. It really goes back to the other actor being present. You work in this business long enough, you come across people who work differently. And one of my biggest pet peeves — and, this is not me speaking about anybody in particular — is working with somebody who has a moment planned regardless of what you’re going to give them. The best kind of partner you can have is someone who’s present and just receives what you’re giving them. And from the get-go, Camila did that, and when you have a partner who’s willing to go there with you, you feel instantly that it works.
Banus: You can play.
Digest: Brandon, when you were brought on, the initial plan was to kill Stefan, which they did. Were you both hoping they would change the story since the “Stabi” dynamic was working so well?
Barash: I was certainly enjoying the work, I was enjoying the character, I was enjoying the storylines, and of course, whenever a job ends, we’re all definitely bummed. But I embrace the notion that nothing is permanent except impermanence itself, and when it ended I thought, “Great, it’s an opportunity for something else.” And who knew that that opportunity would come a few months later as Stefan’s twin brother, Jake. Only in daytime.
Banus: In this medium, most of the time, contract stuff is not really discussed with anybody else. I didn’t know his contract was ending. I was just like, “Wait, they’re killing this man when everything is going great? The fans love it. I don’t understand what’s happening.” So for me, it came out of left field. But then when they were bringing him back as Jake, it was another punch to the face. I was like, “Wait, what? Now they’re bringing him back as another person and it’s his brother?” So it was just a little weird but again, only in daytime, nothing surprises us. Anything can happen. We rise from the ashes. And it turned out to be great, and I think Gabi and Jake had as much chemistry as Gabi and Stefan. So it turned out to be wonderful.
Digest: What did you like about “Jabi”?
Banus: What I liked about “Jabi” is that it brought Gabi back down to her realness. She was a little less pretentious, a little more original Gabi. A little more grown-up Gabi. And I think that excited her, and the fact that this was the face of the person that she was still in love with.
Barash: It was less evil, right? I mean, Stefan and Gabi are conspiring constantly to take over DiMera and possibly the world. “Jabi” was a little sweeter. It felt a little more grounded, if that makes sense.
Digest: And then in a surprise twist, Jake died. What was your reaction when you found that out?
Barash: Again, not surprised because in the world of daytime, anything can happen. But I was also partially relieved because I felt as if Jake had kind of run his course as far as the storylines that were being written, and I think that the writers and producers felt that, as well. I took it as a compliment that they weren’t like, “All right, dude, see ya.” They were like, “Okay, we like you enough to bring you back again.” So I guess it means I’m doing something right.
Banus: I was like, “Oh, my God, this is what we’re doing?” But, again, you roll with the punches, you work with what you’re given, and you make it work and you make it as believable as possible. And it was just a moment of, “Okay, we’ll pick it up right where we left off.”
Digest: Did you feel any pressure to play out “Stabi” 2.0?
Banus: Oh, not me. I think the fans responded well to what we did in the past, and again, we’re picking up right where we left off for Gabi and Stefan. It’s like he never died. We’re back to world domination, so for me, that’s why I think the fans responded well.
Digest: What has been your favorite scene together as “Stabi”?
Barash: Well, I will go back to the time that Camila and I made ketchup on the Hernandez kitchen table inadvertently. It was in the middle of a scene and I think they wanted me to pick her up and put her on the table. Unbeknownst to me, I don’t know if Camila saw it, but there were a bunch of tomatoes on the table and we smushed them. So that was interesting.
Banus: I like that one, but I will say there was a very recent moment, actually, and I don’t know if the best word is fun, but it was just funny for me because I didn’t stop laughing the entire time. We had a scene where Stefan had to give Gabi a foot massage on camera. I couldn’t even believe that I could not contain my laughter. I couldn’t contain somebody touching me on camera in front of all these people. I got so weird, so shy. I didn’t even know who I was. It was just the funniest, strangest, most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to me on camera.
Digest: Camila, you announced that you’re leaving the show. How do you feel to know that you’ll be wrapping up this chapter of the “Stabi” storyline?
Banus: It’s bittersweet for me. I think I’m at a time in my life where personally, it’s a good time for me to step away and just take a reset. It’s going to be hard for me to let go of Gabi in that sense. But I think with soaps and the way that we work, it’s never always a for-sure good-bye. So, you never know what the cards hold for Gabi and Stefan, and I think this will add another dynamic to “Stabi” and to Stefan. I think this is going to be a really interesting time for how he deals now with her being gone. So it’s gonna be exciting.
Barash: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more with what Camila said. It is bittersweet. I am, of course, bummed out that I’m losing such a great scene partner, but I’m so excited for Camila and whatever this next phase of her life brings. It’s really a beautiful thing when you see an actor say, “You know what, this is what I want,” and they go out and they do it. As far as Stefan goes, absolutely. It’s funny that whenever I would go through a breakup in real life, in my 20s and 30s, there’s that initial moment of, “S**t. This really sucks.” And then that for me, at least, was always followed up with, “I’m really excited to go into the unknown and see what lies ahead for me on the other side of this,” and the same goes for Stefan. I’m excited to see how he navigates the world without his partner in crime.