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ICYMI Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk Interview

Soap Opera Digest: You’re  Digest’s featured couple for Valentine’s Day. Considering Kristen and Brady’s wild history, what are your thoughts on that —flattered, confused or, “This is crazy?”

Stacy Haiduk: All of the above [laughs]. Flattered, first. Confused and then … What do you think, Eric?

Eric Martsolf: I think the choice isn’t in the three. Perfect is more like it, and here’s why. I’m a big fan of Brady and Kristen for all the right reasons, in the sense that couplehood and relationships are tricky. They’re tough. They’re not perfect. They’re not always full of heroism. They’re not always full of bubble baths and chocolate-covered strawberries. Real-life couples and relationships are very flawed.

Haiduk: That’s what makes them so perfect. One day, it could be the most beautiful day in the world. The next day, it’s like they hate each other and they’re fighting. Then they make up. It’s a roller coaster.

Martsolf: That’s what I’ve learned about love. It’s how you get through the hardships. Sure, you sit back and enjoy a sunset together and hold hands once in a while, but it’s more about having that support system. And Kristen and Brady, at the end of the day, would jump in front of a train for one another. They really do have this crazy, stupid love for one another. It’s not typical, but that’s the fun of them.

Digest: Do you think part of their charm is their dysfunction?

Martsolf: I believe so, very much. It’s relatable. Of course, there’s room for those ultra, super-romance, nothing-ever-goes-wrong couples that stay together through thick and thin. But there’s also room for the anti-couple. It’s not easy to love and have a normal life with an addict. But Kristen is the one woman who is happy to have Brady with all of his flaws. That’s love. It’s not about changing a person. It’s about living with their defects and being okay with it.

Haiduk: And Kristen always says, “He’ll realize that he loves me, too.” She’s very patient with Brady. She gets frustrated with everybody else, but she’s patient with him because she knows it’s just a matter of time. There’s something quite beautiful about that. We’ve turned dysfunction into beautiful.

Martsolf: I’ll tell you what. I was pretty dysfunctional in my personal relationship with my then-girlfriend, who would become my wife. I broke up with Lisa five times. Talk about a seesaw and some indecisiveness. I kept changing my mind and thinking the grass might be greener on the other side. It took me a longer time than usual to realize, “Buddy, you’re being an idiot. You better lock this down and solidify this.” I’ve grown up since then.

Digest: Had you heard anything about each other before you started working together?

Haiduk: I knew nothing about Eric.

Martsolf: And I knew nothing about Stacy Haiduk. I met her on set and said, “Welcome to the show.” I didn’t know what I was getting into. That’s fun, though, having someone come in and not having any idea as to who they were. Because I had known of Eileen Davidson [ex-Kristen] and had watched her through the years on Y&R [as Ashley], I was aware of her quirks and the way in which she presented her characterizations. I didn’t know anything about Stacy, but I was pleasantly surprised with what she brought to the table.

Digest: What do you remember about the day you met?

Haiduk: I was [dressed and made up as] Susan, first. It was in the hallway.

Martsolf: Oh, that’s right.

Haiduk: That was the first time. I hadn’t been Kristen at all until the day [of the wedding]. I remember you came over and said, “Hi, I’m Eric.” And I was thinking, “I must look like the biggest dork.”

Martsolf: No, I think Susan is hot.

Haiduk: Oh, I know you love her.

Digest: Did the two of you hit it off immediately?

Haiduk: I think so.

Martsolf: The first time we ran lines in my dressing room, Stacy came in and immediately went into a headstand or a downward dog … some sort of yoga pose. She seemed to be perfectly at ease. If she had any nerves, I didn’t see them.

Haiduk: You didn’t see me jumping around your room going, “Okay, okay. Let’s [run the scenes] again. I’m going to do it this way now.”

Martsolf: Stacy has the energy of a 3-week-old kangaroo. It just keeps going, and it’s pretty amazing. But then she can rein it all in, focus on you, and shoot a laser beam through your eyes. It’s really interesting and fun.

Haiduk: Ahhhh. What I love about Eric is he has a lot of patience with me. He just sits there and doesn’t make me feel like I’m some weird creature.

Martsolf: Oh, you’re definitely a weird creature, but I enjoy that. It’s like going to the zoo. I’m entertained. I’m like, “This is amazing.”

Digest: Do you hang out when you’re at the studio; maybe have lunch together or walk over to Whole Foods?

Martsolf: Yes, we do.

Digest: What’s the usual lunch hour routine?

Martsolf: There’s nothing really usual. [To Haiduk] Look at you cracking up.

Haiduk: I’m cracking up because all I can picture is, “What are you doing for lunch?” “I don’t know. What are you going to do? Do you want to go to Whole Foods?” “Yes, let’s go to Whole Foods.” “You’re going to wear that? You’re going to wear your robe?” “Yes, I’m wearing my robe, Eric.” “Really?” “Yeah. Go get your car. Let’s go.”

Martsolf: Stacy is usually wearing a bathrobe to Whole Foods. If you see some woman running around Burbank in a bathrobe, nine times out of 10, that’s Stacy.

Haiduk: Slippers and a hot pink robe. That’s me.

Martsolf: Stacy couldn’t care less. People are looking her up and down as she’s shoving salad into a plastic bowl.

Haiduk: They love it, though. All the cashier people go, “Oh, my God. You look so comfortable.” And I’m like, “Yes, I am.” Then I look at Eric and go, “Seeeeeee?”

Martsolf: And I go, “Okay, I’ll try it next time.”

Haiduk: I want you to wear your big monster slippers and your big brown robe. I’ll wear my shocking pink one, and let’s walk over there.

Martsolf: We’re pretty darn comfortable with one another. Stacy’s comfortable anywhere. I think she’d wear a robe to an insurance seminar.

Digest: It’s always great to see Nicole in the mix as the spoiler between Brady and Kristen. How do you two enjoy that and working with Arianne Zucker?

Haiduk: I love it. I love the triangle. We all went out for a drink one day after work because it was awesome. It’s a delight to have Ari there. It adds to [the story]. And Ari is so … I don’t know. [To Martsolf] How do you describe Ari?

Martsolf: Ari is a circus in a box. As a performer, you think of all the different things that happen in a ring of a circus. You’ve got a trapeze artist. You’ve got a lion jumping through fire. That’s Ari. You really never know where she’s going to be coming from. She’s tough as nails, and Stacy is, as well. It’s a lot of fun to watch those two play soap opera ping-pong.

Digest: And now, in a great story twist, you’re all working together at Basic Black.

Martsolf: It’s a hell of a workplace, man.

Haiduk: What’s really fun is to watch the two [Nicole and Brady] against one [Kristen] ping-pong match. Then, afterward, everyone’s singing and dancing. We’re loving and hugging. That’s what it’s like constantly. There’s the drama, and after we get done we’re whooping and hugging and laughing.

Martsolf: We are not the actors that finish a scene and then beeline for our dressing room. We come offstage and still connect. It’s really terrific to have that dynamic with your co-workers. The three of us definitely do. I remember that day, Stacy, when we went to lunch. We were all kind of mutually proud of what we had done. We all felt that fun chemistry and were like, “Okay. So how do we convince the writers to write this triangle for the next 10 years?” We all had our pom-poms for this little grouping because it was not only fun, but we felt it worked.

Digest: What about fans’ reaction to Brady and Kristen as a couple? Have you found that it’s changed over the last few months with the baby storyline?

Haiduk: I think people are softening. I mean, you still get some fans who go, “Oh, my God! She’s such a bitch, but we’re liking her a little bit better.” She’s softening and, hopefully, she won’t go back to being mean. But that’s Kristen. Her heart isn’t pure as can be. I’m seeing fans becoming more open to the possibility of Brady and Kristen coming together, the more they get to see her tender side. All I can hope for is that they see she’s not all this angst and evil.

Martsolf: I find the fan base to be delightfully mixed. When you’re a creator of daytime stories, what you shoot for is somewhere in the middle. You want two sides, because soap opera is rooted in conflict. Brady and Kristen give us that. You have folks who don’t want them together, and you have folks that are rooting for them. That’s the fun of daytime drama.

Digest: Do you ever think about Brady and Kristen getting married and envision what that might look like?

Martsolf: You know, the last time Brady and Kristen tried to get married it went over like a pregnant pole vaulter. It just was not good, so they’re due for a good one.

Haiduk: They need a really beautiful one. Maybe somewhere in the tropics. What do you think, Eric? A beachside wedding …

Martsolf: A luau.

Haiduk: That would be fun, too.

Martsolf: Instead of a pig with an apple, we could have Xander with an apple in his mouth roasting above us. Paul [Telfer, Xander] would do it. He’d love it. He’d be like [in a Scottish accent], “Sure, it would be fun. Roast me above the fire while you two exchange nuptials.” I don’t know if they’re ever going to be able to get married. Who would attend the wedding other than Lani and maybe my dad?

Haiduk: You only need two people to be there.

Martsolf: That’s true. The less people that are at the wedding, the cheaper the wedding will  be for production. So we have a pretty good chance of getting married.

Digest: Anything else you want to add about the whole Brady/Kristen story?

Haiduk: It’s been awesome. I’ve loved the journey. I’ve loved the drama. I’ve loved everything about these characters and their relationship. It can go so many places.

Martsolf: I think there’s a lot more story to be told. I hope the writers are able to cultivate some new adventures for the couple because working with Stacy doesn’t even seem like work. It’s like being on a playground all day, and I could not think of a nicer gal to swap lines with.          

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