Real-Life Pals Linsey Godfrey (Sarah) And Paul Telfer (Xander) Dish About Their Surprise DAYS Romance
Soap Opera Digest: Sarah went from having rebound sex with Xander to hating him to becoming friends with him. Has the turn been surprising?
Linsey Godfrey: It was pleasantly surprising, and we were both really excited. I always love the unexpected friendships on shows, and they are the most unlikely of friends because of everything he’s done to the people that she loves.
Paul Telfer: I like it because for a long time, Xander had been coming in and out of town, so I never really got to play anything out like that. It was so nice to have, on one of my little stints, that one-night stand with Sarah. Well, actually she considered it to be a one-night stand but for Xander it was the beginning of this romantic fantasy that he was setting off on. For the writers to actually go with it — then, when I came back on contract, to actually build it and use it as part of growing my character — I couldn’t be happier. I just feel really fortunate that it happened, and it happened with Lins.
Digest: How did you find out about it? Was it something you just read in the script?
Telfer: Linsey is very good at gleaning extra information from the producers, the writers and the directors. I tend to just take it as it comes and try to react as we go. She’s very good at reading the tea leaves and all that. So she was intimating to me, “I think it’s going to happen. I think they’re going to put us together.” Every script that would come slowly confirmed her suspicion and her prognostications. So now I just defer to her.
Godfrey: I just ask. I come in and go, “I want to know.” I’m also impatient. I’m such a soap viewer as a soap actress. I want to know what’s going to happen. I want to know about everything. It’s like, I’m going to walk with you [after a scene] until you get to the next set and keep asking until you get annoyed enough to tell me something.
Telfer: She’d be a great journalist.
Digest: How does this blossoming storyline work with Paul and Breckin [Meyer, Godfrey’s boyfriend] being real-life friends? Does that affect things at all?
Telfer: I’ve got to say it was very funny. When I was off contract and coming in and out doing arcs, Linsey came on to the show. I bumped into Breckin at something all our buddies were at, and he said, “My girlfriend is doing your show now. Maybe you’ll see her there.” I said, “I’m not on the show right now, but if and when I go back, I hope we get to work together and become friends.” Sure enough, a few weeks later they brought me back, and the very first scene was me [hitting] on her and trying to get her into the hot tub with me. I started taking pictures of all my sleazy, flirty dialogue and sending it to Breckin just to tease him. Then it started escalating. The first time I got a script where we make out, I was like, “Uh-ohhhhh.” This all got a bit out of hand. It’s a bit odd.
Godfrey: Paul is just the safest person that you could ever work with in those kinds of scenes because he’s so respectful. And Breckin and I love [Paul’s wife] Carmen [Cusack]. We adore Carmen. But, at the end of the day, no one really likes … I mean, I don’t like when Breckin has to do kissing scenes with anyone. It’s a weird, double-edge thing where it feels good because it’s your friend and it’s safe. But it’s also weird because it’s your friend. It’s weird but comfortable.
Telfer: Part of the job of being on a soap long-term is you kind of have to be part of a couple. It’s how the shows work. I just couldn’t be luckier that the person I get to do all that with is not only a superb actress but is also a buddy.
Digest: So you two didn’t know each other until you started working together?
Telfer: Right, which was what was so surreal about it because I’ve known Breckin for a long time. Breckin and I have probably become better friends since all of this.
Godfrey: I’m a big bringer of everybody together.
Telfer: They have a lovely, big house with a pool. They’re very social, and Carmen and I aren’t, generally.
Godfrey: You know what’s so funny? We actually aren’t social people at all. It’s just that when we bought the house, we thought, “This is a house that should have parties at it.” Then we became the house that throws parties. It started out with girls’ night. I started bringing Carmen to girls’ night so I could get to know her.
Digest: How does Carmen feel about your on-screen pairing?
Telfer: She’s totally cool with it. She’s very amused by the turn that my career has taken. She finds the whole daytime thing incredibly interesting and unusual, but also kind of familiar to her life in theater, like the way we’re all packed in together and not off in separate trailers. Now that she’s started to socialize with people from the show, now that I’ve been here long enough to do that, she really kind of digs it, honestly. We had a lovely time at Stacy’s [Haiduk, Kristen] house. She had everybody over. Carmen had the absolute best time and ended up getting massaged by Stacy poolside. She was like, “These soap people are fun.”
Godfrey: Breckin and I both love Carmen because she got us right away. When she met us together, she was like, “Oh, you two.” She called us “fairy people” because we’re tiny little fairy people. We’re wee. We’re not very big people. Breckin was like, “Carmen gets it.” It’s fun when we all hang out together because Paul and I have this bond. Then Breckin and Carmen have this bond. Carmen and I have our own friendship, and Paul and Breckin have their own friendship. It’s really kind of nice.
Digest: Paul, what has the transition been like, going from muscle-clad thug to lovesick puppy over Sarah?
Telfer: It’s been a lot of fun. I love the times I get to do both in the same scene. I’ll be in a scene with Linsey, then she’ll leave and I’ll turn and be with somebody else and snap back into the old Xander. They’re all the same Xander, just different aspects of him. I don’t think he’s ever had a healthy relationship with a woman. All we’ve seen is this unrequited psycho game that he was playing with Nicole. I don’t think he knows how to have a mature, grown-up relationship with a proper, sophisticated, legitimate woman.
Godfrey: Well, let’s not go that far [laughs].
Telfer: I’m grading on a curve here.
Godfrey: Xander’s psychopathic curve?
Godfrey: Sarah’s been different with each person she’s interacted with, too. Sarah and Rex had this really deep friendship. With Eric, Sarah was kind of like a puppy with him. Anything that he wanted, she was like, “Yeah, sure. Okay.” And with Xander, she’s very bossy and very pushy.
Telfer: And he loves it. He needs boundaries. That’s the thing. He needs someone to care enough to tell him off.
Godfrey: It’s very similar to our friendship, by the way. I’m very bossy with him. If I come into Paul’s room to run lines, I change the lighting to what I want. I turn off the speaker [to the soundstage]. I make myself at home. I sit where I want to sit.
Telfer: I need that.
Digest: What has been the fans’ response to your coupling?
Godfrey: They like us a lot together.
Telfer: It seems like it. It’s hard to gauge. I don’t think I’ve seen anything negative, outside of people not liking what I say about politics and using the show to attack me. For the most part it seems very positive. All I get is, “Ahhhh. He was nice to Maggie. I think I’m starting to like Xander.” Or, “I’ve always hated this character but….” So to whatever degree, it’s working.
Godfrey (to Telfer): If it makes you feel any better, you’ve made me interesting and not annoying, according to social media. At the end of the day, I’m just happy if the fans are happy. They really didn’t want Sarah with Eric. That was made abundantly clear to me. So I’m just happy to not be attacked on a daily basis. People prefer Eric with Nicole.
Digest: Are your work styles similar?
Telfer: We like to rehearse. We like to learn our lines days ahead of time. We’re nerds.
Godfrey: Paul and I are nerds, and we both have a big thing about respect. We would never disrespect our crew or fellow cast members by coming here ill-prepared. We would never be people to learn our lines the day of. We learn them. We run them. We’ve stayed late to run lines for the next day. It’s so funny, people will be like, “Oh, you come to set and you know all your lines.” And I’m like, “This is our only job [laughs].”
Telfer: Yeah, this is what you pay us for. Also, it’s fun with Linsey. We do have a similar sense of humor and a lot of the same TV shows and things in common. So it’s good to have someone you can have fun with, but also blow steam off with afterward and send goofy texts about the material you’ve just done.
Digest: What about your thoughts on Sarah and Xander? Are they right for each other?
Godfrey: They’re the only people who are right for each other. Sarah brings out the good in Xander; this very gentle, very loving side. She inspires him to be a better person. And he listens to her and encourages her to be a little more selfish in a way that she really needs to be. Paul and I were so excited [when they put us together]. We were like, what a perfect mismatch, this odd couple that are perfect for each other.
Telfer: For me, I can imagine Xander having romances and flirtations with different types of women. But in terms of a lifelong, happily ever after-type situation, if he’s ever going to be anything more than a mustache-twirling villain, he has to be with someone with inherent decency and boundaries … This angel that sees something in him.