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John-Paul Lavoisier On His DAYS Comeback

Learning about his character’s misdeeds since he last appeared as DAYS’s Philip Kiriakis — namely, staging his own death and framing Brady for murder, while in the hands of actor Jay Kenneth Johnson — was, in a word, “horrifying,” says John-Paul Lavoisier. “As I was reading and studying the dialogue, I have to say that I was shocked. I was like, ‘Oh, my God. This is crazy. This is wild. This is unforgivable.’ But as an actor you have to commit to this, you have to fall in love with it, and it’s real. So I had to keep that living inside me throughout the course of a lot of other moments.”

Lavoisier, who played Philip from 2015-16, was contacted to come back to the soap earlier this year. “I woke up to missed calls, text messages and an email on Thursday, March 9,” he recounts. “And I was on set Monday, March 13.”

The invitation wasn’t exactly a total surprise to the actor. “When John [Aniston, ex-Victor] passed away, I heard about it instantly. I was at an event, and somebody mentioned it. I was shocked, of course. Part of me thought that this was obviously going to have a major effect on DAYS. And part of me wondered, ‘Huh, I wonder if my phone will ring?’ ”

Lavoisier “sort of forgot about that” until he received that trio of messages from the soap. “I was hit with two things instantly,” he notes. “I was incredibly shocked and flattered that I was being considered to be an employee of the show again, because the last time I was there they let me go. I kind of felt they had me there, they were done with me, the end. The second thing, which is a lighter comical thing, was the last couple of years I’ve gotten incredibly used to a certain lifestyle and structure to my day. One of my staples is I go on afternoon runs in my neighborhood. As soon as I hung up with my agent, I thought, ‘Oh, my God. This affects my daily run. When am I going to run?’ Maybe that’s stupid or vain or selfish or silly, but it was a genuine thought. I now had a gig where I have to study and go and work. My whole clock of life was going to be different during that time.”

But Lavoisier quickly came up with a plan. “The days that you work, you’re up early and there for a long time,” he says. “In order to get some cardio in, I actually walked home from the studio in Burbank, which is like nine miles from my home. That was my replacement for my run.”

Since Lavoisier started working on DAYS so quickly after being initially contacted by the show’s brass, he didn’t really have any time to do any prep work or catch up on everything he’d missed. “The preparation just sort of happened live each day, when I was running lines with my co-stars,” he explains. “Nadia [Bjorlin, Chloe] would catch me up a little bit. Eric [Martsolf, Brady] would catch me up a little bit. I remember filming a scene one day with Nadia and Paul Telfer [Xander]. Right before we started, I thought, ‘Wait a second. I don’t know how much I hate Xander.’ I looked at Paul and said, ‘How much do I hate you on a scale of one to 10?’ He said, ‘We don’t like each other. About a seven.’ I wanted to know how much fuel should be in my fire. Then we filmed the scene. I was getting caught up each day along the way.”

Aside from the show’s new health protocols with Covid testing, “once I was in the building and in the hallway, it all felt comfortable and familiar,” says Lavoisier. “If there were nerves I had to suppress them, because of all the work I had ahead of me. Fortunately, it was just one episode per day, but those first couple of days, especially my first day there, I had a lot of dialogue. And I wanted to nail it word perfect. I couldn’t even consider being nervous. I just had to focus on the task at hand.”

Behind the scenes Lavoisier found time to reconnect with his former co-stars. “I got gifted the biggest dressing room in the building,” he recounts. “It’s twice the size of everyone else’s. First class. At one point Eric, Nadia, Martha [Madison, Belle] and Brandon [Beemer, Shawn] all congregated in my room. It was so nice. We were having this wonderful roundtable chat. I hadn’t taped anything yet, but seeing them helped me get comfortable. It softened it just perfectly enough where it was like, ‘Everything is going to be okay. These are familiar faces.’ So when I got up on set, it wasn’t scary.”
Although Lavoisier is only back at DAYS for a limited run, he notes that “I got very lucky. I was very pleased with the stuff that they gave me,” he says. “I did 13 shows. The initial call was, ‘Hey, can you be here for five shows next week?’ Then three more shows trickled in, then two more shows. Before I knew it was doing 13 shows in three weeks. It was fast, full and fun.”

Would Lavoisier be open to a more permanent run as Philip in the near future? “I’ll tell you, if I was offered a more permanent position of which a large portion of my work day was spent with Eric, Martha, Nadia and Lauren [Koslow, Kate], I would pay them,” he winks.