Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview ( Days): Christie Clark Is Counting Her Lucky Stars

As viewers of “Days of Our Lives” have been noticing, old faces are new again. With the influx of veteran actors reclaiming their space in Salem in recent months, one can’t walk through Horton Square without tripping over Jack, Marlena, John, Austin or Carrie. Christie Clark, who returned in September to her role of Carrie Brady-Reed, is thrilled to be back home on the set — a little older, a little wiser and ready to have some fun.

Daytime Dial: What made you decide that this was the right time to come back to “Days”? I know you came back earlier for Alice, but what convinced you that now was the time to return with more permanence?

Christie Clark: Well, (executive producers) Greg (Meng) and Noel (Maxam) are manning the ship, and they have a ton of heart, and they really want to make the show succeed. You can tell there is something different in the air this time around. It’s really inspiring to work with, when the writing is good and the character development is great. It inspires all the actors and trickles down, and it’s just positive energy galore at “Days” right now. All the actors are inspiring me to do good work.

And now we have 15 weeks off a year, and it used to be that we would work crazy hours, like 70 to 80 hours a week. We would get to work at 6 in the morning and sometimes leave at midnight. Now they are kind enough to bulk my shows into three days, so I get to spend time with my family in San Francisco on my days off.

DD: I know you have young children, so it’s great that they are able to accommodate you to be able to see them a lot.

CC: Oh, yeah. It’s a dream job. I’m eating humble pie now, because I have two or three days of being a little soap star and cruising in my two-seat convertible, and then I fly home and I’m back on diaper duty and dishes. Right now I’m living what all the people who watch “Days of Our Lives” are living, and I’m just counting my lucky stars.

DD: You and I are the same age, and I started watching “Days” around ’90 or ’91 — right after high school — and to me, those were the glory days. And looking back, you can see that was a really great time for the show, so I was really excited when I found out all these people were coming back to recapture the magic of that time. What were your thoughts when you heard about that idea?

CC: I am right there with you. I feel like it was the glory days too, but that’s because I was working a lot, and I was enjoying those story lines. But so many people come up to me and say that “I started watching it in early ’91-’92 and my whole sorority or my whole sewing class watched it.” People would get together as a group and watch it and talk about it. And it seemed popular then, so when they approached us about getting all that back — the romance and the light and the airiness and the beauty — of course I was all for it! I love working, so if they are going to try to touch on when I thought it was the best, then great! Sign me up!

DD: What were those first few days back like for you — stepping on the set and seeing everybody again?

CC: It was a trip. It's like a funny dream being back in the same place and with the actors that you worked with 16 years ago. Like with Patrick (Muldoon, who plays Austin). We feel the same age, we feel that it's been no time at all, but that was a long time ago! It's weird, but hopefully we've grown up a little bit and matured a bit. It's like riding a bike. I was nervous the first day, thinking, "Can I memorize these lines again?" And that muscle memory is still there for memorizing lines, and it's still the same faces in the crew. Like, Jackie is still on the boom; Mike and Johnny are still behind the camera. People never leave "Days," because it's such a good job. And I'd say 85 percent of the people who work there now, I know them and have worked with them for 20 years.

DD: Now we have the story line of Carrie defending John, which has her at odds with Austin, who isn't so sure of his innocence — because we need some drama. What can you divulge about how it will take its toll on their relationship?

CC: It's something that Carrie's never seen with Austin before, because he had a terrible upbringing, and family has always been a big thing for him. And for him to suddenly not see that and not react the "right" way is irking Carrie, and it breaks her heart. I just want to shake him to wake him up and say, "What are you doing?" So that definitely creates friction, but it doesn't break us up — at the moment.

DD: And it doesn't help now that Austin is living with Sami.

CC: That doesn't help at all! I don't like that one bit!

DD: They have always had this rivalry, Sami and Carrie. When you first came back and everybody is all grown up and mature — I was afraid that you weren't going to have that rivalry again. So, I'm really glad that we're starting to see that emerge. The path is being set.

CC: There's just been too much bad blood. You can't just forget it, and the writers are doing a wonderful job of acknowledging that. I think in the past I've come back, and I have completely forgiven Sami. To me as an actor it's like, "I can't do that!" And now these writers are really doing a fabulous job of expressing that rivalry. I tell Austin: "I don't like you staying with her. I don't trust her." I want to trust my sister, but I don't yet.

DD: You have two daughters in real life, and you on the show do not have any children. I think you are the only female of childbearing age who doesn't. Last we heard, you guys were going to try to start a family. Has there been any discussion of your trying to do that, or is that something that is way in the future?

CC: I think they will definitely do something with that in the future — there's been a good amount of practicing.

DD: And you've got to catch up with Sami. She's got like what, 12 kids by now?

CC: I know — she's got four! It's crazy! I've got some catching up to do. Maybe I'll bust out some twins to kick-start the whole thing.