Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Interview: Greg Vaughan's New Role on Days

Eric Brady, Sami’s twin brother, hasn’t been on the Salem scene for more than a decade — until now, that is. Daytime veteran Greg Vaughan stepped into the role, and into a clerical collar, a few months ago, with a story line that was unexpected to Greg and his fans. I spoke with “Father” Greg a few weeks back about taking on this new role and how he’s adjusting to the “Days of our Lives” set.

Daytime Dial: In order to prepare for the role of Eric Brady, did you read the backstory, watch some old episodes, etc., or did you decide to do none of this to come in with a fresh take on the character?

Greg Vaughan: I did want a fresh take, but I have history with the show from the outside looking in because I dated a young lady who was once on the show. And then I knew a lot of the cast, and one of them being Jensen (Ackles, who played Eric from 1997 to 2000). And so in portraying the role and the character itself, I was familiar with everything up and to that point. But it’s been more than 10 years, and so much has changed, and I just felt like he had definitely come into his own as a man. I wanted to use my own pallet of colors on the character, if you will. I wanted to create my own vision, and what better way to do that — especially when I was informed that he was going to be a priest?

DD: I think a lot of us were surprised by that turn of events!

GV: For me, it was more of a deer-in-the-headlights kind of shock, like: “Wow! Now THAT is going to be a challenge!” I was thinking he’d be more of a Jason Bourne type of guy. But then when I heard he’d be a priest, I explored into that and my personal life journeys, and then I’m like, “You know, this could be kind of interesting.” And it will be challenging, because I’ll be out of my element. What better way as an actor to challenge yourself than getting out of your comfort zone?

DD: How much have you filmed? I know Christmastime always plays a big part in Salem.

GV: We film very far in advance, and that’s very much out of my box. We’re shooting like three months ahead of time, so half of the stuff I’ve already done I don’t even recall. I think our Christmas scenes were filmed before Halloween. But as I recall, there’s going to be a lot of good quality and a nice, really spiritual family time, and I think everybody is going to be taken by it.

DD: How were your first few days on the set? Were you excited, nervous?

GV: There was a lot of excitement, like Christmas Day or something, because I knew a lot of the cast previously. There was just an overall feeling of “this is going to be fun.” Everybody has graciously welcomed me. I was a little bit overwhelmed because the pace is so fast. It was not something I was used to. Alison Sweeney and I were doing a movie a little while back, and she said: “Things have changed quite a bit. Not just with the genre, but each show.”

DD: How has that changed you as an actor?

GV: It definitely made me step up my game. It’s like, you’re being given a great opportunity, so take the bull by the horns, do your work and come in here and perform. You get a lot of people who are used to the stage and a lot of people who are used to prime time, and they can’t keep up with the pace. It’s so fast — you have to digest it, regurgitate it, spit it out, and then start over and move on to the next scene. Out of the gate, I didn’t eat for like the first two weeks. Not by choice; it was just I was being pulled in so many different directions because I was in so many different scenes. I was interacting with so many new faces, and I was trying to get some sense of rapport and history and education about where and who I was. But now I finally feel like it’s a nice, steady flow. I’ve gotten into a good rhythm.

DD: Can you tell me anything about Eric’s future in Salem?

GV: In Eric’s journey, he’s definitely had his own issues and battles to deal with. There are a lot of layers that are going to be revealed along the way, and we’re going to communicate that. Where he’s going, what his temptations are and reuniting with past relationships — whether it’s with Nicole and the temptation of that, and the struggle against the family and his sister, and the butting of heads with the DiMeras.

Eric is coming from a whole new perspective that’s nonjudgmental. And that’s hard. Especially when you want to stand up and fight for somebody. It’s definitely been an exciting journey so far, and I’m always looking forward to what kind of ride I’ll be taken on. I’m just glad to be working with a great cast and to be a part of such a historically great show. From the younger cast members to the veterans, there’s not one person I haven’t been taken in by or drawn in by what they’re doing.