Interview

ICYMI: Thaao Penghlis Looks Back On His Favorite DAYS Moments

thaao

Credit: NBC

Favorite Thing About Playing Tony? “Tony really is a man who listens, who understands and who, at the right time, will show his heart. He’s careful, because of his history. He loves life. Tony is closer to me and the way I’ve been brought up, which is the Greek element … You don’t embarrass the family. You have a certain spine. You have a way of presenting your background. I put that into the work I do as Tony.”

Favorite Thing About Andre? “Andre’s an impostor because he copied what Tony was. That’s how I played them. While Tony has taste, Andre was a klutz. If he tripped, you’d go, ‘Okay, that’s Andre.’ I’d play that for comedic value. I seemed to take more chances with Andre.”

Best Thing About Returning From The Dead? “That people have missed you. It’s always nice to be loved … Another thing about coming back from the dead that I like is that it’s having a new element in life that you didn’t know about. You’re bringing something different apart from the fact that you’ve gotten older. And physically, in many ways, you wonder if you’ve got the stamina. I mean, my first week back was 11 shows. Albert [Alarr, co-executive producer] said to me, ‘Oh, my God! How are you going to do 11 shows?’ But I did them all.”

Best Thing About Working With Leann Hunley (Anna)? “She’s a pro, caring … the dance between us. Albert said, ‘I just love the way the two of you come together.’ And you realize it doesn’t always happen that way. I’ve worked with other actresses and there’s a certain element that’s not there. Leann trusts me and I trust her. The element with Leann more than anything is the fun, and she’s such a sincere human. I also like the way she says, ‘Honey.’ I remember one time she put her hand on my arm and said, ‘Oh, honey, don’t get upset. It’s not worth it.’ That’s how she calmed me down in between scenes.”

Best Memory Of The Late Joseph Mascolo (ex-Stefano)? “Can this be a funny story? Joe used to laugh at me because sometimes when we took pictures, I’d stand on my toes to be as tall as him. He used to laugh hysterically. He’d say, ‘Shorty, come on. Stand.’ Joe and I used to share [a dressing] room. One day, I left. I said, ‘Okay, Joe. See you on Monday.’ Then I forgot something, so I went back. In the meantime, Joe had taken his shoes off. I didn’t realize that he had these heels and also [lifts] inside the shoes, which made him four inches taller. I opened the door and he was shorter than me. I looked at him and he went, ‘Oh!’ He got on his toes and started walking around the room wondering, ‘What did you need?’ And I’m thinking, ‘My God, he’s on his toes.’ That’s how much it affected him about his height. All those years, I thought that he was laughing at me, and I realized he was shorter than I was. I never said anything to him. He also gave me a gift for Easter once. It was [a chocolate] Easter egg or a bunny. When I opened it up, it was half-eaten. That was Daddy. That was Big Daddy.”

Best Thing About The DiMera Living Room Set? “I think it’s Joe’s portrait. It represents that he may not be here on the earth, but he’s watching over you. In a way, he plays your conscience. I like the room. I always have. I like the space, and there’s good lighting in there. Actors are dying for light.”

Favorite DiMera Sibling? “Even though Billy [Flynn, Chad] and I are not similar in any way — we come from different elements of life — there is something about the way [the Chad and Andre relationship developed]. It was after I said something to [Billy] that didn’t go over well. I felt a certain … you know, with youth they’re more rebellious in a way, because I’ve been there. My old saying is, ‘If you don’t know how to treat me, let me show you.’ And so I did. What came out of it was that his heart opened up and part of it was because he trusted me. I think because that was so gradual, it meant something.”

Best Thing About Working With Lauren Koslow (Kate)? “I like the way she dresses. She can put things together that I look at and I’m thinking, ‘How the hell did you come up with that?’ And she wears it well … the attitude. That’s part of her mystique. Some actresses are an open book, but Lauren Koslow comes with a certain attitude. It’s a ‘Don’t screw with me’ attitude. But we’re free enough to talk to each other, like the time when Andre was going to get married to Kate. I looked at her and was supposed to kiss her. I said [to Lauren], ‘Put your hand up as I’m about to kiss you, as if you’re moving my face away from you.’ So when the judge said, ‘Now you may kiss the bride,’ her hand came up, she moved me away and kept talking. It became funny. Things like that she’s very open to.”

Best On-Screen Coupling? “Tony and Anna. It’s different; it was a true love story. It had all the ingredients: Sophistication, clothing, and I think the romance more than anything was always at the edge. It never quite went far enough, and yet you wanted more. Everything came and mixed together between two actors, and it was a gem to me and the flavor was fabulous. I looked forward to coming to work. I think part of that was Leann would take care of me and I would do the same. I treated her well. Some actors say, ‘Don’t get my makeup messed up.’ I mean, Leann never once would say that. I remember a scene when the two of us were eating chocolates. We looked like a bloody mess, but it was all fun.”

Best On-Screen Friendship? “Tony and Marlena, because it also bleeds through in the personal. Over the years, when Deidre [Hall] has gone somewhere, she always asked if I would go with her, socially. Every time we worked together, never once was there any friction. Never. She always said,
‘Oh, my God.
You keep me
on my toes.’ And I like that. There’s a professionalism between the two of us and a wonderful respect between our two characters.”

Best Storyline Or Scene? “I loved [Andre as] the clown. He dressed up … He had to become a nurse and then he had to become the hooker from Brazil, as I call her, and then a nun. All that took me back to my MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE days. I love the idea of disguises. You go in and you run your lines, but when you put on your costume, something changes: your walk, your attitude, your speech. I really loved how I upset Sami in the hospital [as the clown]. It was a real challenge to play that role. I remember I came in with balloons and she didn’t know who I was. I was making like I was deaf or dumb, and then I threw myself onto a stool that had wheels on it and it took me right up to her bed. She went, ‘Who are you?’ And I said, ‘The kind that ends with a bang.’ I went down to the lowest register I could go to. Then I jumped on the bed because I knew she was really upset. I put my arm around her and started applauding with my feet in those big shoes.”

Favorite Death Scene? “Oh, what a question! Does anybody have a favorite death scene? I can’t say any are my favorites. All I can say is each one of them was different. I remember the day after Tony had fallen from the stairs on the pier. I was lying there in a coma [in the hospital]. The EJ character had a page monologue telling me what he was going to miss about his brother. He was going on and on and on. In my head, I looked at the ceiling and thought, ‘My, God. How many times are they going to [kill me]?’ And I started to cry. The tears were running down my face while my eyes were closed. When [James Scott] finished his monologue, he said, ‘Even when you’re playing supposedly dead you steal the scene.’ It threw him. But I couldn’t give up the fact of just being in a coma. They gave me some nice close-ups, so it was like winning. Those tears were about me not wanting to leave, to be honest. I wasn’t ready.”

Favorite On-Screen Foe? “Certainly Joe Mascolo, because with Tony there were a lot of fights and mistrusts. He was probably the greatest challenge, because that voice of his, that roar that he had when he lost it…. He lost it one day and everybody just stood there frozen during rehearsal. I just looked at him and I said, ‘I’m not changing anything. You don’t scare me.’ And he apologized. He was always pretty solid. You know who else was good? James Read [ex-Clyde]. He comes from good schooling. He’s a fine actor. I’d never met him before. I did scenes with him on the pier as Andre. As I looked at him, I thought, ‘How do I get beyond this person? Well, you come in knowing more than he does, and I’m sure he’s going to play it that way, too.’ I didn’t know what was going to happen until we started doing it, then we started having fun with it. By the time we finished, who was going to beat the other? I’ll never forget it. He walked away and turned around and looked at me and said, ‘Man, that was just great.’ And he came over and gave me a big hug. That’s what makes him so professional and so good. He knows how to come full circle.”

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