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ICYMI Bryton James and Melissa Ordway Interview

Soap Opera Digest: Melissa, you were a fan of Bryton’s before you met him because you’re a longtime Y&R watcher. What do you remember about first meeting him?

Melissa Ordway: What I remember about the first time is that Bryton has a way of making you feel like you’ve known him forever. He’s just such a good guy. He’s so friendly and I just remember feeling super-comfortable.

Digest: Bryton, can you recall your early impressions of Melissa?

Bryton James: She, from day one, has been the sweetest person on and off set.

Ordway: Oh, thanks.

James: You really are. The one thing that’s always struck me about Melissa is that she’s a pleasure to be around.

Digest: When you weren’t working together nearly as closely as you are now, what was your dynamic like behind the scenes?

Ordway: What is so awesome about our whole cast is that we all like hanging out in hair and makeup and getting to know each other. Even if we’re not in the same storyline or working together that much, we end up becoming friends. I feel like that’s how it was with Bryton. I just got to know him so well before we even worked together that much, and I’ve joked around for those 10 years that I wanted Abby and Devon to be together. But every girl on our show had said they wanted to work with Bryton. It seemed like we all were fighting over him.

James: For years, we rarely had scenes together. A lot of times we were on our little storyline island. Our characters have always been friends, so it’s not like we haven’t interacted. For 10 years we’ve had a friendship and they almost put our characters together back when Emme [Rylan] was playing the role.

Ordway: There was one date on the rooftop with me after Abby and Tyler broke up and Devon was trying to get over Hilary.

James: Yeah, that’s right. Those were fun scenes because they felt so natural. And it’s just because of us and how we get along; it’s an easy relationship that comes across on screen.

Digest: Melissa, what appealed to you about the idea of Abby and Devon as a couple?

Ordway: Well, because I love Bryton so much — that was the number one reason I wanted to work with him. But also it made sense because Abby and Devon have been friends forever and they know everything about each other. Plus, they don’t need anything from each other because they both have a ton of money and come from really distinguished families. I feel it just totally makes sense that they would be together. They just complement each other so well.

James: And that’s the goal, right? To end up with your best friend, the person you could say anything to and knows everything about you and you know about them and you still love each other.

Digest: Bryton, were you aware that Melissa was putting the idea of this pairing out into the universe?

James: Are you kidding? We both were! I was as much as she was. Every time we would be on set together, we would look into the camera and remind the producers or directors or whoever’s watching how much we wanted them to be a thing.

Ordway: We weren’t quiet about it!

James: We were not subtle. And every head writer during their 10-year friendship on the show, we would definitely let them know.

Digest: What was the feedback?

Ordway: Well, [current Co-Executive Producer/Head Writer] Josh Griffith would always say, “No! It’s not gonna happen!”

Digest: What was your reaction when you found out it was finally happening?

Ordway: I was like, “Yeah, right. I don’t believe you.” And we still didn’t believe him until we saw it in writing.

James: Regardless of how many times we were told it wouldn’t happen, we just kept playing this kind of attraction to each other. We tried to make it obvious for as long as we could despite any pushback. On paper and in the story, it seemed natural and obvious that the progression of their lives would lead them to each other. They don’t have any issues, so they don’t butt heads over anything important. They can talk to each other candidly so when either one needs to be reeled in, they can do that for each other without it affecting their relationship.

Ordway: There’s never been any judgment between them about their pasts. They already know all of the mistakes that they’ve made even before they were together. I honestly thought that they would maybe get together when Chance was gone overseas and they had a connection to the baby being born. So when that didn’t happen, I was like, “Oh, this is just never going to happen because this would have been such a great opportunity.” So that’s why I was extra-surprised when I actually saw it in the script. I was like, “Wait, what?!”

James: On soaps,
if they write that
you have a child on the show, you’re pretty locked into a relationship.

Digest: Do you feel your real-life friendship has deepened over the course of their romance?

Ordway: Oh, definitely. You’re spending more time together running lines and working on the set and having conversations between scenes, so your friendship grows, for sure. It could either get better or worse and for us, it got better.

James: I agree. I love Melissa even more as a friend and a scene partner. Just to get to experience different types of emotional things together is rewarding and a lot of fun. It’s made me excited about where our storyline is going. And the more we talk about our lives — I love hearing about her husband and their daughters — it definitely deepens our relationship.

Digest: What are your favorite things about each other’s personality?

James: I love her sense of humor and she has one of the kindest, most genuine, wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly hearts. Those two things combined, doesn’t get much better.

Ordway: I think Bryton is one of the nicest people in the whole entire world. He honestly takes a genuine interest in everyone’s life. He knows every person’s name on the crew and everything about them. When you have a conversation with Bryton, he’s actually listening and asking questions. He’s so much fun and we laugh so much together.

Digest: What has been your favorite Abby/Devon scene thus far?

Ordway: After Abby and Devon are together for the first time, when she cheats on Chance, and she comes back to his apartment and they’re trying to deal with what happened. Was it a mistake? Do they actually more than like each other? They were trying to unpack all of those feelings and I loved that.

James: That’s one of my favorites, too, and I also loved when Abby had everyone leave the mansion so she and Devon could just talk about him wanting to share custody of Dominic. She’s really hurt because she doesn’t understand where it’s coming from and their friendship is kind of teetering on what’s happening. And when it was just the two of them having an honest conversation, they were able to work everything out.

Digest: What are your favorite stories about working with River and Rainn Ware, the twins who play Dominic?

Ordway: Well, the twins love Bryton. Even in the scenes where Dominic is supposed to be super-upset and crying, they’re just so happy when Bryton holds them. On the other hand, they don’t want me to even look at them! When we were trying to film the Christmas episode, they wanted nothing to do with me. I’d be like, “Hi, I won’t even touch you, I’m just going to sit here and we can be friends,” but they still started screaming.

James: Oh, they love you now. They don’t cry anymore when you’re around

Ordway: Well, they like me now but they definitely loved you more, for sure. I’m a little offended by it, but it’s okay. I’ll get over it.

Digest: Having been buddies for so long was it awkward to have kissing and semi-naked scenes?

Ordway: Oh, my gosh, it was really difficult at first. One of the most challenging things, probably. You try to go into your own mindset, just focus, get through it and hope it works out. But it wasn’t like I was in a fetal position just rocking back and forth.

James: Our first love scene, the director came to us beforehand and asked what we were comfortable with and how far we could go. After a 10-year buildup, this was the first time our characters were coming together, so it was important that it felt that way. And I think we made it work for the audience.

Digest: What do you think makes Abby and Devon the right partners for each other?

James: The fact that they’ve been best friends first. She knows him even more than Lily. Abby knows every facet of his life and still loves him as much as he loves her. They respect and admire each other. They’re meant to be.

Ordway: I think that their families are just so connected. Lily was even one of Abby’s best friends. Like Bryton pointed out, they know everything about each other, the good, the bad and the ugly. I don’t think there’s anything that they can’t get through together because they already have the strong foundation of being best friends. I just feel like they make perfect sense.

Digest: What do you think about them moving into the Chancellor mansion?

Ordway: Oh, I think it makes perfect sense and it’s where Devon should be. That was his grandmother’s house and she’d be really happy that he was living there.

James: I think it was smart, too. It made sense, even how they wrote Chance’s reasoning, because he felt Dominic was more comfortable there and it is Devon’s family home.

Digest: Do you think these two have long-term potential?

Ordway: Yes! Absolutely.

James: I see Devon and Abby as the new Michael and Lauren. People cheat, they do all these crazy things and are in and out of relationships, but there always has to be that couple who can be the example of what love can really be.

Ordway: I can’t imagine either one of them cheating on the other. Never, ever.

Digest: Would you like to see them get married?

James: Yes, absolutely.

Ordway: I think it’ll eventually happen but I don’t know about having the wedding at the Chancellor mansion since that’s where Abby married Chance.

James: Yeah, that would be weird.

Ordway: But hey, maybe they could recycle the decorations [laughs].