ICYMI Remington Hoffman Interview

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the current state of Remington Hoffman’s life. On the work front, he’s seen his DAYS character, Li Shin, catapult to the storyline forefront. Plus, there’s his roles in Tyler Perry’s BET+ dramatic comedy ZATIMA, and in the Snapchat series BREAKWATER. And he and his brother, Forrest, are co-creators of the Amazon Prime documentary series TALKIN’ SUCCESS (recently rebranded as DRIVEN). On the personal front, he and his wife, actress Ida Barklund, just welcomed their first child, daughter Una Bay Hoffman, on June 29.

“I’m really fortunate and grateful,” says Hoffman, who’s reveling in all of it. Originally cast on the DAYS app miniseries, CHAD & ABBY IN PARIS, Hoffman segued over to the NBC soap as an occasional guest in 2020 before his recent promotion to leading man. “Last December I shot a show where Li kissed Gabi, and they had sex. I was like, ‘This is great.’ I had been telling my wife and my brother that I hoped they would give Li a love interest, because he could only do so much just being a board member of DiMera. When Li finally made the move for Gabi, I was like, ‘This is so exciting.’ ”

Hoffman wondered what the new year would bring. It turned out to be lots more screen time. “[DAYS] called my manager in February and said, ‘We want to give Li at least 12 episodes.’ Then 12 episodes turned into 15 episodes, and they just kept sending me episodes. Marnie [Saitta, casting director] and Albert [Alarr, co-executive producer] told me the show was going to expand Li’s role, that he was going to be featured a lot more. It’s just been the most incredible blessing.”

The best was yet to come. Namely, the recent reveal that Li has a dark side and has been pulling the strings on Dr. Rolf’s Stefan experiment. “I love the twist,” gushes Hoffman, admitting his goal has always been to “keep the audience guessing. Although my first thought was, ‘Holy crap! I have a bunch of huge monologues.’ I’d never had that much dialogue on the show. I only played a bad guy once before, when I was on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Li has been my first opportunity being more of a bad guy and playing a full-fledged dynamic character. I try my best to bring a lot of colors to him.”

Hoffman’s path to acting began, interestingly enough, when he got recruited to play college basketball at Keuka College, a Division 3 school in upstate New York. “My dad told me I should take an acting class. He thought I would like it,” remembers Hoffman. “So I did, and I auditioned for the school play, Fat Pig, by Neil LaBute. The director asked me if I wanted to be the lead. At first I was like, ‘I’m not going to do this play. I came here to play basketball, and I’m going to get a degree in Business Marketing.’ But the director convinced me. He said, ‘Something natural is happening here.’ I did the play, and I really enjoyed it. I stayed in the theater department, and the next semester, I did the play again.”

But things detoured after Hoffman’s freshman year, when his basketball coach quit. “I ended up going home to Santa Cruz for a year and started taking acting classes,” recounts Hoffman. “My brother told me I should move to L.A. if I wanted to be an actor. So the next year, after he graduated high school, we moved to L.A. I kept pursuing my career, and he pursued a career in film and television acting, as well.”

Hoffman was already on track, having been “discovered” before he left home, while on a surfing trip down the California coastline. “I was 19 years old and standing at the cliff in La Jolla, when this guy came up to me and was like, ‘Hey. You have a really great look. Where are you from?’ ” recounts Hoffman. “I thought he was hitting on me and said, ‘I’m not interested.’ He was like, ‘No, no, no. I’m a modeling agent. I wanted to know if you’ve ever done any modeling.’ I was so shocked that he was asking me that. I grew up in Santa Cruz, and I’m Asian. I never thought there would be any possibility of me modeling. But I looked into it and ended up working for a company in San Francisco called City. The next summer I went to Singapore and modeled there.”

Meanwhile, Hoffman continued to study acting and eventually got a modeling agent in L.A., Click. The company worked with Framework Entertainment setting the groundwork for Hoffman to soon land an acting agent and manager. “My very first credit was DON’T TRUST THE B—- IN APARTMENT 23,” says Hoffman. “It took me a little bit to jump off the cliff fully, but everyone has their own journey.”

Hoffman’s career has certainly had its share of twists and turns, including a stint as a nanny. “I had a friend who was a nanny. She became pregnant and was moving to Portland to have her baby,” he explains. “She told me the family she had been working for really needed help and convinced me to take the job. That was how I paid my bills while I was auditioning. It was definitely the most rewarding thing I did in my 20s. I’m still extremely close with the family. Those two brothers are some of the best friends that I have.”

At one point Hoffman even considered becoming a pre-school teacher. “I hadn’t worked as an actor in, like, two years and had become interested in child development,” he shares. “But then I booked a role on CRIMINAL MINDS, and that gave me the confidence to continue the journey.”

A couple of years later, DAYS entered the picture via the DOOL App series. “I actually met my wife, Ida, at that time,” Hoffman relays. “It was on a photo shoot for Ring, the doorbell company. We were doing a print shoot. She’s Swedish, so she was paired up with this big Swedish-looking guy. I was paired up with this Asian-looking woman. We were supposed to be out on a double date. I ended up becoming friends with Ida at first. I was always interested in pursuing her, but we didn’t go fast, that’s why I think our relationship blossomed into something quite wonderful. We met in April 2019 and got married a year later on March 13, 2020. It was the last day before the pandemic, the last day before everything shut down.”

Hoffman’s wife actually helped prep him for his initial DAYS audition. “When she was a kid, she watched the show with one of her family members,” he explains. “We were laughing when we got the script. She knew the DiMeras and Stefano. She coached me for that. She coaches me for most of my roles besides my acting coach, Craig Archibald. My wife breaks down scripts really well and understands characters.”

These days, Ida has her hands full as she and Hoffman are both embracing first-time parenthood. “I love being a father. It’s so amazing,” says Hoffman. “And Ida is the most amazing mother. Watching a woman go through birth, you gain so much … respect isn’t even a deep enough word to use when you watch a woman go through that process. It’s truly beautiful.”

Hoffman was in the delivery room for the whole 26-hour experience. “It just flew by, honestly,” he notes. “I sang ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ to Una when she was in the womb, and the second she was born, I sang it to her when she was on Ida’s chest. Una was crying, and Ida was like, ‘Sing to her.’ So I started singing very softly, and she stopped crying. It was like it was somewhat familiar to her. Now I have a whole collection of songs that I sing to her, show tunes and stuff.”

When he’s not serenading his little one, Hoffman is a “hands-on dad. I’m really good at burping her, swaddling her, and changing the diapers,” he lists. “I come home every day and I cuddle with her, spend time with her, and try to take the workload off Ida, but I also get so much out of that time with her. We do some pumping, so I do the bottle-feeding and that’s been a huge bonding experience for me. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do that as a man, to be a provider to her in that way. I do the 3 in the morning feedings, so Ida can sleep more. Not every day. When I’m working on DAYS the next day, Ida will usually feed her all night.”

Of course, that’s been the case often of late, since Hoffman’s role as Li has expanded. “It’s the greatest. I wish every actor could be on a soap opera,” says Hoffman. “I look forward to going to work every day. I look forward to seeing my co-actors and everyone that I work with at DAYS. It’s so exciting to be a part of something where the story is constantly moving.”

Hoffman truly feels like he has it all at the moment. “I call them my three pillars,” he offers thoughtfully, reflecting on the state of his life. “I have my personal alignment, I have my career and I have my family. I’m so thankful. I really couldn’t be happier.”

Parallel Paths

Remington Hoffman is longtime friends with a former Salemite, Christopher Sean (ex-Paul). “I’ve know Christopher since 2008, when I first moved to L.A.,” says Hoffman. “We were kind of doing the whole career thing together. We were going on modeling auditions together before either of us booked DAYS.”

Hoffman, however, beat Sean to the punch when it came to testing for the NBC soap. “I’ve known Marnie [Saitta, casting director] for, like, seven years,” he notes. “I swear I went in and I bombed the first audition I ever did for her. I didn’t understand soap operas at all. I thought, ‘I’m never going to see her again. I’m never going to audition for DAYS again.’ ”

But he did, when Saitta summoned him to test for the character of Paul Narita, the role Sean ultimately booked. “I was so happy to go and read for Marnie, again, that she gave me another chance,” admits Hoffman. A few days later, Hoffman “went to this party for Asians on Film, and Christopher was there. He was like, ‘I just booked DAYS OF OUR LIVES. I’m playing a baseball player.’ I was thinking, ‘Oh, my God. I bombed for Marnie. She let me have a second chance, and then Christopher booked Paul.’ ”

Fortunately, Hoffman got another shot to join the Salem fold when Saitta called him back in 2019, and the third time turned out to be a charm. “Going in and auditioning for Li Shin, I was just so happy to be there,” he smiles. “And I was grateful that Marnie kept believing in me.”

Just the Facts:

Birthday: May 3

Hails From: Santa Cruz, CA

Name Game: “My dad technically named me after Remington Arms Corporation, but our family isn’t gun activists or anything like that. He’s an antique dealer, and he collected a lot of old Winchester and Remington Wild West guns from the 1800s. It was either Remington or Winchester, and he thought Remington was a really powerful name.”

But You Can Call Me: “Most people call me Remington. Some people call me Remi. I like being called Remington, especially by people I work with on set. The formality of the name makes me feel focused. When they call, ‘Remington to set,’ it’s like, ‘Boom. Focus.’ ”

Total Tuber: “I use YouTube all the time. I follow some special surfers and professional golfers. I also watch sports on YouTube. I’m a Golden State Warriors fan. I follow the NBA on YouTube and watch the highlights. I also like to use YouTube for a bunch of tutorials.”

The Collector: “I’m interested in antiques. My dad is an antique dealer. I love woodworking and antique American furniture. I have some antique pieces of furniture in my apartment and aspire to collect more. I love Asian pottery, Japanese pottery and Japanese bronze work. I love Native American rugs and turquoise, too.”

Food for Thought: “My wife makes an incredible meat and vegetable Bolognese. It’s traditionally an Italian dish, but she doesn’t make it Italian style. I eat that with gluten-free noodles. I love lasagna, too.”