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Eileen Davidson on Resurrecting Manipulative Meanie Kristen

The ‘Days of Our Lives’ Return That's Shaking up Salem

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Eileen Davidson on Resurrecting Manipulative Meanie Kristen

Eileen Davidson

Courtesy: NBC/Benjamin Cohen

It’s been 14 years since Eileen Davidson made daytime television history by portraying five characters -- Kristen Blake DiMera and Bank siblings Susan, Sister Mary Moira, Thomas and Penelope -- on Days of Our Lives. Being back on the soap and resurrecting her role as the manipulative Kristen has been a blast for the actress. “I never anticipated having such a great time,” she says. What’s Kristen’s agenda this time around? And how is Davidson acclimating to life in Salem 2012? Davidson opened up about it all in a recent interview.

How are things different on Days, today, than they were your last time on the show?
When Jim Reilly was heading up [the show], it was pretty crazy over there. Obviously, I was doing five characters. It was quite different for me then. I have to say it was a breath of fresh air coming back to Days. Everybody was wonderful. I saw a lot of old friends and past faces. I’m actually having so much fun this time.

What’s it like going from playing an honorable heroine like Ashley on The Young and the Restless to a villainess like Kristen?
I just kind of snapped into it. It’s been a lot of fun for me, because Kristen is written with a lot of latitude. She is so different than Ashley. There’s a certain freedom to playing her, because of that.

What’s Kristen like now? How has she changed, since she’s been off the story canvas?
Kristen is definitely a different woman. She’s been through so much in her life. I mean, 14 years have passed. She wasn’t in the best place last time we saw her. She has had lots of therapy. So certainly she’s changed and is not the same as she was. I think she’s probably more mature and more together and ready for a brand new start.

But she’s still obsessed with John, right?
I don’t know about that. She’s had lots of therapy. (Laughs) Take it back.

Okay. I take it back. Are there any other men that catch her eye, when she returns to town?
She’s kind of reborn this time around in Salem. She’s interested in the opposite sex in lots of different shapes and forms. She’s back, better than ever.

What about her relationship with Marlena? Are they still adversaries?
Oooooooooooh. Marlena just doesn’t trust her. No matter what Kristen does it seems like she just can’t convince her that she’s definitely changed. So that’s been the biggest hurdle for Kristen to overcome, is getting Marlena to trust her again. She’s a hard nut to crack.

How have you been enjoying working with Deidre Hall (Marlena) again?
We have been having a really good time. Even better than the first time. Even though the first time was such a hoot, too. I don’t know why. I guess because I’ve been doing straight drama for so long. Just all the history between these two women and the kind of dynamic between them. Marlena kind of knows Kristen in a way that nobody else does. It has so many different layers and different components to it.

What was your initial meeting with James Scott James Scott (EJ) like? I mean, here you are, someone who looks like you could play his love interest, and you used to play his mother.
That is so sweet of you to say. You made my day. The first time I saw him I gave him a big hug, because I knew that we had scenes together that day. I was feeling very effusive and happy to be back. Everybody was so warm and welcoming. I just gave him a big fat hug.

Now you’re playing his big sister. Has creating that relationship come easily?
I love working with James. He’s very open to improv and doing things in the moment. He’s such a terrific actor that it was great from the very get go. I hope people like it. It’s kind of fun [when you think about] what [Kristen] did to his mother and him. Now he is this grown man. It’s a very interesting history.

Fans, of course, all want to know if there’s a chance you might reprise your role as EJ’s mother, Susan.
I don’t know. This show is such a different animal than it was 14 years ago. I think everybody knows that who was watching then and is watching now. It’s much more based in reality now than it was then. I don’t know how Susan would fit into the format. Can you imagine her in Horton Square? I’d be willing to try, because I have such a fondness for the character, but we’ll have to see.

You shared your first scenes with Joseph Mascolo (Stefano). Was it easy falling back into father/daughter mode?
Yeah. It really was. I love him. I’ve had some really good times working with him. It’s been nice seeing him again after all this time. I’d only seen him in the hallway at CBS, when he was on The Bold and the Beautiful. But other than that I hadn’t seen him in all this time. So that’s been really special.

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