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ICYMI: Deidre Hall (Marlena) Looks Back On Her Favorite DAYS Moments

Favorite Thing About Marlena? “I think what she gives the audience. I think what I hear mostly from viewers is, ‘I wish I had a mother like her. I wish I had a grandmother like her. I wish I had a friend like her. I wish I had a wife like her.’ In fact, years ago I had a celebrity contact me who said, ‘My mother said I had to call you.’ We went out, it didn’t work … but anyway! You can trust her. You can trust her motivation, you can trust her input, you can trust her emotions, you can trust her advice. They will always be clean, healthy and pure. And that’s what I think we all look for in adults.”

Favorite Thing About Playing Marlena? “You know, it’s my least favorite thing. All those things we just spoke about, all those qualities that she doesn’t tend to cut loose. She doesn’t tend to be the first one in the pool; she tends to be the one who is always going to give you the best advice, always going to be on your side, reliable, competent and caring, which means playing her becomes a little more predictable. I know what the audience needs from her and that’s easy, but it means I don’t get to be crazy. I don’t get to cut loose, I don’t get to be surprising, which is why, of course, my next topic would be why it’s so darn much fun to play Hattie. I think I might have posted an old scene of Hattie’s with Drake [Hogestyn, John] and Peter Reckell [ex-Bo] where she spit gum on Peter. We got to dress rehearsal and I said, ‘Peter, I may spit my gum on you.’ And he said, ‘No! You better not do that. You better not.’ We all heard it said. I think everybody got to that moment in the scene and completely held their breath waiting for, ‘Is it going to happen? Is it not going to happen? Is she going to do it?’ And, Hattie spit her gum on him. It stuck to his forehead. So screamingly hilarious and nobody broke, least of all Peter. We had to wait for them to call cut and then we just screamed. Moments like that. Moments of playing someone who has license to be daring and unpredictable.”

Favorite Thing About Getting To Play Hattie? “She has no barriers. She doesn’t have a sensor in her. I get to come on stage when Hattie is up and just think, ‘What is the most ridiculous thing that can be done in this moment?’ And then she gets to do it. I think the audience has become accustomed to looking for that moment. Is she going to spit the gum? Is she going to hide the wine? Is she going to kiss Roman? All the things that she does are so wonderfully quixotic and unusual.”

Favorite Marlena Storyline? “It’s always going to be possession. You’ve heard me say that’s going to be on my tombstone. It was the most shocking story. It was the most forward-thinking story. I got called upstairs before our Christmas break. We had begun to see the Christmas tree had exploded and gifts had been stolen, missing and destroyed. But until Christmas Eve, in her own privacy of her own bedroom when she levitated, nobody had any idea what was going on. It was a mystery. What [former Head Writer] Jim Reilly had done with that was everybody got to find out in a different time that it was Marlena. It was brilliantly done. Jim was a devoted Catholic and immersed in the religion and had done enough research on what we’ll call possession that he didn’t make a wrong turn. I thought it was brilliant storytelling.”

Favorite Hattie Storyline? “I don’t know if I can pick one. Hattie pretending to be Marlena just was such a handful, such great fun. Loving Roman, loathing John, having to love John. I mean, it was such a big mix of character overlap that it was delicious to hate John and have a full license to do it. I’d have to say Hattie as Marlena when you never knew when she was going to break, and telling off her own children. It was kind of a white-knuckle ride.”

Favorite Location Shoot? “I guess Chichen Itza. It was exotic. I think just the pace of the storytelling of finding Roman, and John not being John, and all the details of that, that storyline was interesting for people. And having to climb the pyramids.”

Favorite Set? “It will always be the same. The Brady pub. I love, love, love that set. I love being in it. I love working in it. I love looking at it. I love walking on stage and seeing it all lit up to be ready for cameras. I love it. When I do Christmas cards and stuff that I will post on my fan page, that’s where I want to have it taken. I love it!”

Favorite Thing About Working With Wayne Northrop (ex-Roman)? “He was inexhaustibly irreverent. There was nothing that was too sacred. He was a constant practical joker. It was fun to try to play jokes on him. He was also a social friend of mine. He and Lynn [Herring, Lucy, GH, Northrop’s wife], we were all very close. It was going to work to play with my pal, and on occasion going up to the ranch and just hanging out with him. I miss him. He was a nice balance for Marlena because he was the guy who brought a sleeping bag in, dropped it on the floor and said, ‘I’m here. I’m staying. I’m keeping you safe.’ And I think just the contrast of those two professional people, the therapist and the cop, brought integrity and dedication to their craft. At the end of the day, they were complete professionals.”

Favorite Thing About Working With Drake Hogestyn (John)? “I often say that Drake and I work without a safety net. I think we both understand the impact that this couple has on the audience. We are reliable. We are loving and dedicated to each other, to our families, to our work. We really sort of are the Tom and Alice. We’re the next generation of people that you count on for constancy. He’s always prepared. He’s a consummate professional. He’s always thrilled to rehearse, always looking for new things to bring to it. He’s a great team player.”

Favorite Thing About Working With Jed Allan (ex-Don)? “Jed kind of taught me the ropes. When I hit daytime, I had done a few years on YOUNG AND RESTLESS [as Barbara], but I hadn’t done a lot of three-camera work. I would sort of turn to him for the example of how you do it: finding lights, finding angles, hitting marks without looking down at the floor or whatever it was. He knew how to do it. He’d been doing it a long time. It came to him as second nature and that’s probably what I picked up from him. He also was a showman and he was a master dealmaker.”

Favorite Thing About Working With Alison Sweeney (ex-Sami)? “You know, it’s the long arc. It’s knowing her from the time she was a pup and watching her learn and grow and find her footing, find her confidence. It was fun to see her through those stages and watch her bloom. Every time she came on set, she was learning and watching, sinking her teeth into things that would advance who she was as a performer.”

Favorite Thing About Working With Martha Madison (Belle)? “She’s my heart. I love, love, love her. Once again, how did I get lucky enough to be surrounded by these women who know their craft so thoroughly? If you throw them a curve, they pick it up and run with it. If there’s something they want to try, something you want to try, they’re there. Martha has this profound [outside] life of owning and managing restaurants. She is astounding to me that she can do that and turn in the performance and be here completely committed as she is.”

Favorite Thing About Working With Greg Vaughan (Eric)? “It took me a while to work with him. He is so beautiful that it can become distracting. Good for the audience, hard for his co-stars! I mean, what else can you say about him? You only have to look at him without doing a double take and think, ‘Wait, are you real? You walk in looking like that?’ He is easygoing, he is fun,
he is relaxed, he is willing to rehearse. He’s a great co-star. He’s a vision to watch.”

Favorite Thing About Chandler Massey (Will)? “I love him. I love his family, very close-knit family, very proud family of who he is and what he does, and enthusiastic and encouraging and who are there for him in every possible moment. Chandler, because he had a lot of time to kill a few days ago, went around taking a survey and doing a flowchart of everybody’s favorite fruit or vegetable. I said, ‘What are you asking me?’ ‘What is your favorite fruit of vegetable?’ And so I told him. Today, I walked into the makeup room and he had brought all of those fruits and vegetables in to share with people. I took a picture. He’s so gracious and thoughtful and fun.”

Favorite Memory Of Working With Your Sister Andrea (ex-Samantha/Hattie)? “When she came to play Samantha, she at one point had this very difficult testimony scene where she had to testify to her own sanity. She had to burst into tears. I said to her, ‘Look, this is one of those weird things where crying looks easy and you think it will be easy ’cause we’ve all cried in our lives, but somehow when you get on stage, it doesn’t want to happen for you. But if you get to that moment and it doesn’t happen for you, don’t fake it, don’t put your hands over your face, just continue the scene.’ And she said, ‘Oh, no. I can cry.’ I said, ‘Okay, good. But when you can’t, don’t resort to some kind of fakery, just go on with the dialogue that you know.’ I spent years crying in the car, crying in my dressing room, crying at rehearsal, at home, and not being able to do it on camera. What the hell? So she was walking off wiping her eyes and I said, ‘I’m just kind of curious how you did that.’ And she said, ‘I’ve been watching you do it for years. How hard could it be?’ So she didn’t know it was hard. Working with her was delicious. Just delightful.”

Favorite Memory Of Frances Reid (ex-Alice)? “She was not Alice Horton,  not by the longest stretch. She was hilarious, irreverent and yet professional. People used to say, ‘Oh, I wish you were my grandmother. I’d make cookies with you.’ No, no, that wouldn’t be happening. Another icon. You knew on day one, do not come on to her stage unprepared. Do not do that. I hope it’s always a thing that we pass on to other people. Don’t come out here unprepared. This is not what everybody thinks of as a learning ground; this is a place where professionals work their hardest. We’re not here to train you, you’re here to bring it and turn it in, and that was what we always knew with Frances. You show up on her stage, you show up prepared.”

Favorite Memory Of Macdonald Carey (ex-Tom)? “I was working with him during one of the first days of playing Marlena and he was doing a scene with Mary Frann [ex-Amanda] and I come into the scene and am being introduced to everybody at the hospital. I was introduced to somebody and he said, ‘This is Dr. Evans.’ And I said, ‘Oh, please. Call me Amanda.’ And there was this great long pause. Mac said, ‘No, darling. She’s Amanda. You’re Marlena.’ But just sweet, sweet, sweet. Just a man who asked how you were in the morning and then waited around to hear how you were. Kind and gracious and professional. And coming out of this phenomenal film career and stepping into the lead in the soap, which was a very different kind of work and owning every bit of it and loving every bit of it. He was iconic in every way.”

Favorite thing about still being on DAYS? “I’m just so grateful. It’s such a second home. I so adore the people that I get to spend my days with, that goes from walking in the door to hair and makeup and wardrobe and catching up: ‘How’s your daughter? Did she graduate? How was that party?’ We have such a community here. When we’ve lost people, you see that sense of community more than ever of everybody pulling together and everybody getting everybody else through it. We’re each other’s safety net. I miss these people when we’re off. I love coming back after a week or two off and catching up and asking the questions and hearing what it’s been like for everybody else. And just the embrace of family that is DAYS OF OUR LIVES.”