INTERVIEW

Mike Manning On His DAYS Exit

Charlie’s death by an unknown assailant spells the end of Mike Manning’s run in Salem. “When I was hired, I knew that the contract had an end to it,” shares the actor, who admits he initially had no clue about how that exit would come about. “I didn’t know that Charlie’s storyline got this dark but I did know that at some point, Charlie was going to leave the show, whether it be put in jail or getting killed or running away.”

He found out about his alter ego’s fate one day after he wrapped filming. “The producers handled it really well,” Manning praises. “They basically came up to me one day and said, ‘Hey, Mike, we just want you to know that you’ve done a great job with Charlie, and you’ve brought different layers to the character that other actors might not have brought. We’re so impressed with what you’ve done with the character, but with this type of storyline, and because Charlie did such an awful thing to Allie, there’s no way around it. We have to kill him.’ I knew that it was coming. If I didn’t know that it was only a short-term contract, I would have been caught off-guard.”

The fact that Charlie’s demise kick-started a whodunit tale tickled the actor. “Given the choice of going out with a whimper or going down in a blaze of glory, you would always choose the blaze of glory,” Manning points out. “It would be nice if it wasn’t Charlie, but if he’s gotta go, at least make it fun.”

Manning appreciates everything that he got to do during his first soap run. “I’m really grateful that they gave me a complex character to play and that there were so many different sides of Charlie that I was able to show,” he reflects. “It means a lot to me that the producers and the casting director and the writers trusted me with such a complex storyline like this, and I know that I will look back on this and be really proud of what I was able to do on the show.”

As for what he’ll miss the most, Manning says, “I’m really going to miss Salem. I’m really going to miss being a part of that world and showing up on set and getting to interact with everybody there. I can honestly say that there was not one person that I didn’t enjoy working with. For such a quick run on the show, Charlie interacted with a lot of people. He really got to know a lot of people in Salem and Mike got to know a lot of people on set and the people are what I’m going to miss the most.”

Manning currently has another project to plug, however. “There’s a film right now called Son of the South, executive-produced by Oscar-winner Spike Lee. It’s a story about the civil rights movement in the South in the ’60s, and I play Townsend Ellis, he’s the lead’s best friend. I’m really proud of that film and it’s in theaters and available on VOD [Video On Demand].”

At press time, the actor hadn’t filmed his final day, but shares, “I did buy everybody cookies, so I am trying to leave as graciously as possible and also I want people to miss me [laughs].” And if another soap came calling, “I have to say yes, I would [consider it],” he reveals. “But over the past couple of weeks, I have heard from a dozen people that on a soap opera, you’re never really dead, so we’ll see what happens.”

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