Ask Drake Hogestyn (John) who he was most looking forward to working with now that he's back on Days of Our Lives -- not counting longtime leading lady, Deidre Hall (Marlena) -- and he'll tell you in no uncertain terms: Joseph Mascolo (Stefano).
"Oh by far," says Hogestyn. "You know this guy is my hero. Seriously. I really love the man."
Hogestyn and Mascolo kept in contact while he was off the show.
"Joe's called me numerous times. And he is so funny. When he calls me, he calls me as Stefano," shares Hogestyn, breaking into Mascolo's fake onscreen accent. "He's like, '(My wife) Pat and I want you to come up to the house. I'm going to play my records for you and make you a big Italian dinner.'"
One of Mascolo's last calls was to relay the "rumblings" he'd heard about Hogestyn returning to the show.
"He told me he went upstairs [to the producers' office] saying, 'Now you remember. He's a DiMera now. He left as a DiMera, and we have a thing,'" recounts Hogestyn.
Hogestyn can't wait to delve into that "thing" onscreen.
"So far we've had one short scene together, where it was the reintroduction [of John and Marlena]," notes Hogestyn. "But already there was a raised eyebrow and a smirk on his part. We just locked our eyes on each other, and there were a lot of underlying currents. We both know that something great is coming."
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown