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Peter Porte on Joining DAYS

Peter Porte (ex-Ricky, Y&R) admits he never expected for his alter ego, Dimitri von Leuschner, to be woven into the fabric of DAYS after he wrapped filming on the miniseries BEYOND SALEM. “No, no,” he says. “When I was invited to the Daytime Emmys [in 2022, where BS was nominated for Drama Series], I was like, ‘Should I go to this? This is kind of weird, right? I’ve been in a handful of episodes and I don’t know the rest of the cast, but when is the next time that I’m gonna be invited to the Daytime Emmys? I should just go, I’m never gonna do soaps again. I’m sure that this is the end.’ And so I went and I felt like I was literally wedding crashing.”

So when he was contacted about a return, it was a surprise. “Lo and behold, I got the call and it was to just check my availability and I said, ‘Oh, okay. Sure. Yeah, I’m available,’ ” he recalls. “I thought they were throwing me in for another episode and then they offered the contract and I was shocked. I was shocked, and so excited. I’m very excited for the viewers just to see how many twists the storyline of Dimitri von Leuschner goes through in a very short amount of time.”

Porte admits he battled nerves before arriving at the studio on day one. “My first scene back, I’m in an interrogation room with Steve Burton [Harris] and Stephen Nichols [Steve], the two Steves that are pros and icons in the genre, and it was a very intense interrogation scene,” he relays. “So it was intimidating, but they were both incredible and put me at ease. The speed at which you are thrust into the pool and expected to perform is intoxicating and it’s nerve-racking, but they showed me the ropes that first day, and it took me a second and then you get the hang of it and you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s just like riding a bike.’ ”

Because the character was introduced as ISA agent Kyle Graham in BS, then revealed to be Dimitri in the final episode, the actor says he had to find the character when he showed up on the fishing boat with Kate. “Without giving away too much, I will say this: I was walking into this clueless because there’s a hard pivot and we introduced who this character really is for three pages of dialogue,” he explains. “So it was a blank slate besides ‘Eastern European bad guy’. We started filming and things move very quickly, so there’s not a lot of time to sit down and really muse over which way to go with the character with the executive producer and the writers because everyone has 100 things going on and you’re kind of left to your own devices to slowly build. And that’s the fun thing about being on every day, that you really have the time to develop a character before the audience’s eyes. I don’t know where the story is going, so it’s a surprise to us every week, and I’m like, ‘Oh, wow, okay.’ You can’t really have hard and fast ways of deciding how to play a character because they’re going to turn it on its head next week. So it’s about being flexible. It’s about receiving the material that you get and making a bold choice. The fun thing that I’ve experienced over this is taking this really aggressive, broken, hardened character and he now is very expressive as to what he is feeling. He is still a broken person, but he has a very good heart and he’s just learning how to use it.”

Working with Lauren Koslow (Kate) in his early days was a plus, he reports. “She’s gorgeous and she’s such a pro. She’s been on the show forever. She was a wonderful dinner companion on a ship.” He was also happy to reconnect with Billy Flynn (Chad), with whom he shared scenes in BEYOND SALEM. “Oh, my gosh, Billy is great. Billy is such a sweet guy and so talented and he just got nominated for a Daytime Emmy. So, congratulations.”

Though DAYS keeps him busy, Porte has other projects in the works. “I have two movies in post-production,” he says. “One is YULETIDE THE KNOT, about a wedding at Christmas, and then the other one is called DANCE OF THE HEART. Those are two movies that I shot last year that I had a wonderful time doing. Stay tuned to see where they land.” He also volunteers his time. “Whenever I get an opportunity, I do a lot of work with Project Angel Food [], so any kind of support that you can send their way would be greatly appreciated.”

Overall, though, he’s excited about returning to the daytime community 11 years after wrapping in Genoa City. “It’s been amazing being back,” he concludes. “I always wanted to come back because I think it is the closest to live theater that we have on this coast, and that’s where I got my start. I also am very fortunate to be working with a writing team that is very talented and cares about these characters. And the people that I’ve been paired with on this show are everything. The cast that I’ve had the privilege of working with has perhaps been my favorite experience so far.”