Daytime fans have finally gotten to see the long-awaited debut of Greg Vaughan as Eric Brady on Days of our Lives. However, this time as Eric re-emerged in Salem (the character has not been seen for 12 years and was last played by Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles) he came back as a priest … a man of the cloth! Vaughan, who has been one of the most popular actors in the genre, is most notable for his work in daytime as Lucky Spencer on General Hospital, and also had appeared on The Young and the Restless, plus countless primetime roles.
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Greg for a “quickie” chat to get his thoughts on: playing the priestly Brady, what will develop between former on-screen love Nicole (Arianne Zuker) and Eric, how he landed the part of the long MIA Eric, and who on earth thought it would be a good idea to put Vaughan, one of the hottest guys on soaps, into a stiff collar? Check out our fun interview with the talented Vaughan below!
Soaps fans are not used to seeing you all “buttoned up” in a collar instead of taking your shirt off gratuitously in scenes. So the big question is, are you going to be “buttoned up” much longer? (Laughs)
GREG: As long as I have an opinion about it, I will keep the collar all the way up to my chin if I have to, not that anybody wants to see somebody do that for long periods of time. But I did run around the Horton Square and I turned my back to the camera with my shirt off … that was good enough. I actually think that is some of the best work I have done in a long time. (Laughs)
That was tremendous work! (Laughs) Now because they have made Eric Brady a man of the cloth, I figure either: one, He is really not a man of the cloth, but has gone undercover, or two, Marlena is going to become possessed by the devil again and her son will exorcize her. Your thoughts?
GREG: Now that could be interesting and I will go with the latter. I think that would be quite cool! (Laughs) Especially since Ms. DiMera is in town, she can cause quite the havoc! You know, I am such a fan of that idea, because I was watching Eileen Davidson (Kristen) do her magic, and I am such a huge fan of what is happening between Marlena and Kristen. So anywhere I can get into the mix is good. I will referee, I will mediate, maybe, they both need my services. I think I need to get paid for this, because I have everybody coming in and repenting for everything in my little closet. (Laughs)
Now, what about Arianne …?
GREG: … Other than she is just fabulous? Other than that? There is nothing really that I haven’t said, or anyone else, but she is a delight and delicious, and so much fun.
Seems on the air, that Eric and Nicole are reconnecting!
GREG: Oh, it’s not going anywhere! She is just too much trouble!
But, Eric loves troubled gals!
GREG: You know what? She is a drama queen, and in Eric’s older and wiser years, I think he has definitely wised up to Nicole’s game. Honestly though, I think it really nice to see them come together, but so platonically in a sense, and baby steps, if you will. It’s not something that is being pushed or forced down your throats. I am enjoying the growth between these two, and I think both Arianne and I like that. It’s not just, “OK, the man in the cloth, a little rumble and frolic in the sheets and its over.” I like instead that it’s growing nicely and organically. There have been a lot of years in between that have kind of shaped the characters, who they have become and where they are going, and each in their own right. As long as it’s not rushed and it’s really played, you are going to start seeing the tug of war and the emotional strings of their relationship.
Will we eventually learn why Eric chose to be a man of the cloth?
GREG: You are going to start hearing about and understanding the choices that have been made for him, and why he chose this path in life. There is a bigger, higher reason for that and not just God, per se. I think that Eric had a father figure that he meets a long the way that kind of made him see things differently, and it also kind of enlightened him to the way he looked at life.
You had to audition for the role of Eric Brady, correct?
GREG: Yeah, it was not offered to me. As much as I wished those things were true and people come knock at my door all the time, and my phone is blowing up off the hook, unfortunately it wasn’t, but everything worked out the way it was meant to be. I have said in the past that I feel very confident in the choices that I make and what I am doing and in my craft as an actor. I have been fortunate enough to have a long career and be a working actor. So to come in and perform, and to earn the job, always is much more rewarding at the end of the day than somebody saying, “Hey just give it to him!”
Did you know when you went through the audition process that Eric was going to be a man of the cloth?
GREG: Yes. I did understand that before I came in for the screen test. You know, after I had time to sit with it and it was explained to me, and DAYS telling me where it was going to go – I kind of thought about it and I saw the big challenge behind this opportunity and so I said, “ You know what? I want to do it,” and if it’s meant to be it will all work out, and so far it has.
A tricky thing about being on DAYS is that they shoot so far ahead. So my concern for any actor joining the series is that they are so advanced in taping story that they can’t go back and get out of it if something isn’t working for the audience. And that could ultimately doom a new character, or in this case, a new actor in a familiar role.
GREG: I would think if something was not working already they would go, “Abort! Abort! And push the button, and let’s get it off the screen.” The way the machine at DAYS is nowadays is much more advanced and at a faster pace, and a lot more shows are consolidated in a shorter amount of weeks, which allows us to be on-point every day. I like it. I like where we are going, either way, it would not affect me.
Who at DAYS surprised you that you never worked with before? So much so that you thought, “Oh my God. They are so fun!?”
GREG: Well, I have to say, I do enjoy Arianne Zuker and Eric Martsolf (Brady). So I say, “Did you guys ever connect? And if not … why not? What’s the deal? “ I mean it could be fun for a hot minute? (Laughs) But they are both so funny. It’s like when we do our block rehearsal, they go into this performance mode of live theatre shouting in their best actor voices, “We are thespians and we are performing this work!” It’s like they have their own show going on! But, everybody is just a pure delight and so much fun to watch. I love the Nick and Gabi storyline and I like how all the younger leading actors are coming into their own and where they are going. I think they have been doing a fantastic job in this whole baby storyline.
So being a religious figure on DAYS now, what do you think Eric thinks of Will’s homosexuality?
GREG: I don’t think that has come to the forefront yet. I don’t think that is burning issue for Eric, by any means. I don’t think Eric has any negative responses. I am sure in regards to Will, Eric thinks, “You are family, and I love you for who you are.” Eric is not a judgmental individual, as he has clearly stated.
Did you ever think, being a proud Texan, that you were surprised by how far your career has come from your early modeling days?
GREG: Yes, I am a proud Texan, but anything north of San Antonio, nothing south! (Laughs) You know, I was modeling out of high school, and it took on a life and career of its own. It was very enjoyable and it was very educational. My grandparents think to this day that I would just walk into a room and just smile, and people gave me a job! (Laughs) It’s not easy, and it’s a large hill to climb. You know, I have friends who have children who are very interested and passionate about modeling or acting, and they ask me my opinion on it. I say, I want them to be a kid and grow, and not say they want to be in show biz just because I am in it. I also don’t want my own kids to feel obligated to do what I do. I want them to make their own choices. If this is the path that they choose, this is their choice, not mine.
How many mini-Vaughan’s are there now? I think I may have lost count! (Laughs)
GREG: Three and they are growing, one is five, the other almost three in January, and the other little one is eight months. I got a daddy day care with mommy in the kitchen working her magic. I love being a dad of three boys; it starts and finishes my day, every day.
By Michael Fairman