Y&R’s Michael Mealor and Sasha Calle dish about creating an on-screen romance
Soap Opera Digest: Michael, what
was your reaction upon finding out
that Kyle was getting a new romantic interest?
Michael Mealor: Oh, I was so excited because I wanted to show fans something completely new. Mal Young, our executive producer at the time, told me he was building out the Rosales family because only Arturo was on the show at that point. Mal said, “He has a little sister, Lola, who will be your new love interest and be the wrench with Kyle and Summer.” This was maybe two months before I got to meet Sasha and have a chemistry read with her.
Sasha Calle: It was actually my first chemistry test ever. I had auditioned for a year and a half and it was constant auditioning four times a week, but I never tested.
Digest: Would this be the first time you guys met?
Calle: We met the day before the test, actually.
Mealor: We did.
Calle: We met on a Wednesday and we read lines together. They had me doing this little thing with a staircase, as if I was in the food truck and had a rag to pretend that I was cleaning when Michael came out. It was really cool. It was like miming on the food truck. I then came in on Thursday and we did the scene.
Digest: Did you have that much prep work with the other actresses?
Mealor: The day before the test they had an open work session and I hung out here for two or three hours. It wasn’t mandatory, so not all the girls showed up, which was fine. Right off the bat, I was very comfortable with Sasha. The rest of the girls were lovely, but what stood out with Sasha is from the moment we met, we were just at ease.
Calle: The first thing he said to me was, “I love my job. This is gonna be great!” We rehearsed in the casting director’s office and she said, “Pay me no mind. I’m not even gonna look.” We started doing the scene and she whispers, “Oh, wow….” It was so funny.
Digest: Did Michael give you any advice?
Calle: I don’t think so. We were just kind of trying to play with our scene and make it great. I remember that the whole experience was so thrilling for me. I walked out of there, called my mom and said, “Whether I get it or not, this was incredible!”
Digest: After the test, were you asked for your input, Michael?
Mealor: They asked my opinion because I read with a few different women. It was a no-brainer. Everyone from casting to the producers to me, it was Sasha.
Digest: Didn’t you find out you got the job pretty quickly, Sasha?
Calle: I was at The Grove when my agency called 40 minutes after the test and said, “You booked the job.” People must’ve thought I was crazy because I was sobbing.
Mealor: I’ll have you know, she found out 40 minutes after, I found out seven full days later. They had me on pins and needles. Mal finally asked, “Who do you think we chose?” and I said, “Sasha,” and he goes, “Yeah. Duh.” Obviously, she was made for the job.
Digest: When did you see each other again? Sasha’s first day of work?
Mealor: You came in before that, I think, to sign paperwork and I saw you at the office.
Calle: Yeah, it was also the day after my birthday. After signing papers, I wanted to see how it all worked, so I watched a couple of scenes. That was really cool.
Digest: What was your first real impression of each other?
Calle: I remember thinking, “Oh, he’s so handsome! He’s like a little Superman.”
Mealor: Little? Who you calling little?
Calle: It’s so funny because he’s like super-serious and he does a Superman stance [places hands on hips].
Mealor: Kyle just wants to be Superman, but I always wanted to be Batman.
Calle: I thought Michael was an amazing person. Very calm and sweet.
Mealor: My first impression of Sasha was that she had an energy that was palpable. You could feel the strength of Sasha just in the way she interacts with you and looks at you.
Digest: What was your first working day like?
Calle: Michael was my tour guide and making it home for me. I was like, “Hey, where do I go? What do I do?” and he was there for me, showing how everything works.
Mealor: I want to help [new] people like I needed on my first day. I remember feeling like the world was crashing down on me and I wouldn’t be able to handle this, and so I took those moments that I had and made sure that I made those into, I don’t wanna say teaching points…
Calle: Like a guide.
Digest: When did you feel you established an on-screen rhythm?
Calle: I think every time that we’re in front of the camera it’s different. It depends on our energies.
Mealor: That’s true. I felt [the scene] playing charades was a turning point.
Calle: I remember we were doing our first scenes and he said, “I can’t wait to start dancing with you. It’ll be fun.”
Digest: Dancing? Michael, you once said you hate to dance.
Calle: Peter [Bergman, Jack] told him and he also said this to me, “There will be a point where you and Michael start dancing,” and I was like, “What is this dance that we speak of?” It’s basically just being comfortable with each other and having each other’s back.
Mealor: I’m willing to bet that the audience found our rhythm a lot faster than we think we found it. As we saw their relationship build on-screen, our relationship was building as well off-screen.
Digest: What was the first kiss between your characters like?
Calle: Well, it was my first on-screen kiss!
Mealor: My first on-screen soap kiss was actually with Mishael Morgan [ex-Hilary]. Devon was dating the singer, Simone, so Hilary and I made out.
Digest: Were you nervous, Sasha?
Calle: I remember asking, “How is this gonna work?” I just didn’t know if there was a certain way that they want us to kiss. And then they started showing us that they needed our faces this way and I was like, “Okay!” It was a whole learning experience for me.
Mealor: And then we just started kissing a lot.
Calle: Yes! We were kissing all of the time. In the script it would be, “And they passionately kiss.”
Mealor: My mom called me and said, “You kiss that Lola girl a lot.” I told her, “It’s written that way, Mom.”
Calle: For the longest time, it said, “Lola passionately kisses Kyle,” and then Michael’s like, “Why are you always kissing me? When do I get to kiss you?”
Mealor: It always says, “Lola kisses Kyle.” I’m always on the receiving end.
Calle: My mom also called me and she asked, “Who taught you how to kiss like that?”
Mealor: That’s hilarious.
Digest: How do you like working with Hunter King (Summer) in this romantic triangle scenario?
Calle: Oh, I love it. I love Hunter!
Mealor: It’s funny because Hunter is such a different person than Summer, but they’re both so much fun. Hunter and I have established a brother/sister relationship, so we poke fun at each other all day long.
Calle: I didn’t get to have a real conversation with Hunter when I first came. We just had that one coffee pot scene. When she returned, we started talking and she’s so sweet. She’s so kind and very professional.
Mealor: And then they call, “Action!” and she throws the bitchiest comments. You’re like, “Wait, where did that come from?”
Digest: What do you do after those kind of scenes?
Calle: Oh, my God, we always laugh.
Mealor: Hunter does apologize sometimes, but we usually end up laughing.
Digest: Do you run lines a lot?
Calle: Yeah, when I first started, I was begging him to run lines. We were always running lines. We were even FaceTiming. I think it helps us a lot. I think it’s also awesome we’ve gotten to a point where we feel comfortable. We trust each other.
Mealor: As the chemistry builds, Sasha knows where I’ll go with a scene. She knows me and she knows Kyle. We don’t leave each other guessing. Everyone on set is always willing to run lines.
Digest: Who makes the other laugh the most?
Calle: I make myself laugh, and when I do that, everybody laughs.
Mealor: She makes herself laugh. She tells herself jokes in her head.
Calle: I do! And out loud sometimes, too.
Mealor: She makes herself laugh the most and it makes everyone else around her start laughing. She has a laugh that you can pick out.
Digest: What do you hope for Kyle and Lola in 2019?
Mealor: They’ve been together for six months, so the honeymoon phase is slowly fading. Now we’re getting into the strength of their relationship but at the same time, they don’t have much history to rely on. That’s a fun thing to play. I’d also like to see Kyle get on the business side of the new restaurant Lola is working on with Devon and Abby.
Calle: I’ve gotten to the point of trust with the writers, so I’m really excited about what they’ll bring to the table for us. As long as I’m growing, I’m happy.