Sonny and Will packed up and left Salem with their daughter, Arianna, last week, marking the end of Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey’s tenure on DAYS.
“There’s an opportunity for Sonny to go to Arizona where his brothers are and really start something that’s meaningful for him,” explains his portrayer, Freddie Smith. “Sonny and Will are pondering whether to [leave town] or not and what to do about the custody of Ari. Initially, Gabi’s like, ‘No way you’re taking my daughter from me,’ but then things change in her personal life and she realizes it’s a better idea for us to take Ari away. So Sonny and Will decide to move to Arizona and take Ari with them. That’s essentially what the last five episodes are going to explore. It will be a happy ending.”
And laden with “WilSon” flashbacks, according to Smith. “That’s one of my favorite things,” notes the actor. “They will be showing many, many flashbacks of Will and Sonny’s entire love story, right before we leave. It’s really going to feel like the show wrote an homage to their storyline. It will be beautiful to watch all those clips come to fruition. Then, I think, it’s Sonny who says, ‘Good-bye Salem … for now.’ So they leave with the door kind of open.”
Before they leave, the couple says good-bye to some key family members. “I had some scenes with Wally [Kurth, Justin] and even, interestingly, with Judi Evans, who was playing Bonnie at the time,” recounts Smith. “One of the last things I said was something like, ‘I’m glad I’ll never see her again.’ It was so strange, because it was kind of an emotional good-bye, that and my last scene with Wally. With Judi it would have been cool, if it was actually Adrienne.
“We also worked with Alison Sweeney (Sami) on one of our last days, and then I got to say good-bye to Uncle Vic,” says Smith, referring to John Aniston. “That was an emotional good-bye, just because we’ve gone through so much as characters, all the ups and downs of Sonny and Uncle Vic butting heads, so to speak.”
Smith and Massey got to take in their whole experience together behind the scenes, too. “We had a lot of time to talk on set,” notes Smith. “We were with each other for two weeks straight during those last six episodes. So we went through that whole thing of, ‘Wow, these are our last episodes,’ and reminiscing. We also did a podcast together toward the end. So we got to sit and talk and enjoy each other’s company. It was really nice.”
Looking back on his time at DAYS, Smith says the thing that will stick with him the most is the impact that Sonny and Will made. “We stepped into this and wanted to share a love story between two men,” he explains. “The writers, producers, directors, crew, actors and everyone came together, and we were able to pull off this story. To look back on that block of work is remarkable. I feel super-proud of it, and everyone that was involved in it. That meant the most to me.
“I grew up [on DAYS],” continues Smith. “I started as a kid in my early 20s. When I look back, I reflect on the young kid I used to be and how I’ve grown up into a man, who’s chosen to work on personal development and become a better person.”
Then, of course there are the multiple Daytime Emmy Awards — four in total — that Smith and Massey racked up individually for their work as Sonny and Will. “To be recognized for your work in that way is incredible,” admits Smith. “It’s always a bonus. You can never control if you’re going to be nominated or not or win or not, so you just enjoy the process. If you happen to win an award that’s just the cherry on top. I’m glad we got to have that experience together, especially Chandler. He was knocking it out of the park a few times and got a few awards, and they were well deserved.”
As for the odds of Sonny and Will returning at some point, Smith isn’t quite sure. “I did hear that we might have potentially been back this summer, but that was before the pandemic,” he points out. “So I don’t know what that did timeline-wise. I asked one producer, because I was curious. But I didn’t really dive deep into asking.”
With their days at DAYS now well behind them — the pair wrapped up taping earlier this year — Massey has discussed moving back to Georgia, while Smith and his fiancée, Alyssa Tabit, are planning to move to Florida in six weeks. “That’s going to be our new stomping grounds,” says Smith. “My fiancée’s family is retiring there in a few months, and she grew up there. So it’s where all her friends are. It’s also close to my family in Ohio; the same time zone and a quicker flight. We’re thinking about the next chapter of our life, about having kids and being closer to family. And I love warm weather, so there was no shot we’d ever go to Ohio. I can’t deal with the winters there anymore.”
Regarding his career moving forward, Smith notes that, “The whole industry has changed. You can put auditions on tape. You can fly into work. People are working in Georgia, Chicago, Vancouver…. We wanted to start a hub close to our family. Then we’ll see what we want to do acting or entertainment business-wise after that. We’ve been waiting to do this for many years, and now is the time to do it.”
Meanwhile, Smith will continue to bring fans his YouTube podcast, The Freddie & Alyssa Show. “That’s going to be our main focus,” he says. “We’ll be doubling down on that. That will be our full-time gig.”
However, he’ll never forget his time as Sonny on DAYS. “Just tapping into his overall optimism 24/7,” smiles Smith. “Anytime I’d pick up a script and Sonny was going to talk, even if he was concerned or angry now and then, it was always from the heart and very caring. That kind of affects you personally. You leave work in that mindset to be positive and lead with your heart. Sonny taught me a lot about being positive and thinking about others first.” w “Sonny taught me a lot about being positive and thinking about others first.”