Matthew Ashford is ready to stir things up as Jack Deveraux on Days of Our Lives, but don’t expect the character to be all slapstick this time around. Ashford, who signed a two year pact with the show, promises Jack 2011 will be displaying a more serious side, and he’s definitely going to need it vying with Daniel for Jennifer. Ashford discusses the budding triangle, reconnecting with Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), and life since his last stint in Salem.It’s been a while since Days fans have heard from you. How are you and the family?
[My oldest daughter] Grace is off to college. Emma is off to the eighth grade. My wife Christina and I just finished doing a show called I Do! I Do! at Sacramento's Music Circle. That was quite intense. It’s a two person musical in the round for two-plus hours. I also did a production of Antony and Cleopatra, a couple of months back. It sounds like you’ve been busy.
I really wanted to challenge myself this year, and I’m doing it. I’m producing movies. I’m working on creating new projects. I’ve got my fingers in a number of different pies, which is exciting. Speaking of challenges, you’re back as Jack, but Jennifer’s in love with Daniel . Is it weird playing the third wheel?
Yes and no. Jack’s always been a bit of a third wheel. He’s always been fighting for something, but the fact that Jennifer has a new, very solid relationship with Daniel has kind of changed everything. She has this other life that is clearly not part of Jack’s life. What’s it been like working with Missy again?
Well, we started laughing as soon as we started. That must be the first moment Jennifer sees Jack, when he falls into this huge cake. It’s led people to believe you’re returning as slapstick Jack. Are you?
I don’t think that’s really the direction we’re going. We very quickly went from that moment to another moment. It got really intense and serious. [The producers] asked us to dig into some stuff right off the top. In the past, you pushed for a funnier Jack, didn’t you?
Well, the funnier stuff was, in many cases, as opposed to doing not much of anything. It’s also a little bit of chaos, and the anarchy of it is kind of fun... Sometimes that might have gotten out of hand. The enjoyment of the character at the character’s expense may have led to ideas of bumbling. I have to take responsibility if people think the character was bumbling, because that was probably Matt who was just having fun. Don’t you think Jack’s going to have be to be more serious if he’s going to be a viable alternative to Dr. Daniel?
I guess so. That’s certainly what it looks like. As the crew says, “Hey. Doctor. Health care plan. Regular, steady job.” How do you beat that in these times? Daniel’s got full medical insurance. Jack has the old COBRA Spectator plan. We joke about this stuff, but underneath, there’s kind of a truth to it. There’s a new family dynamic now with you, Missy and Kate Mansi as Abigail. Have you spent time together, bonding?
Yes. We sat and talked, found out about Kate’s family and where she’s from. She’s very much a Southern California girl, although she has this wonderful Italian passion. She’s very forthright about what she wants and what she doesn’t want, what she likes and what she doesn’t like. Does she remind you of either of your daughters?
She reminds me a little bit of Grace, because she speaks her mind. It’s funny, I just realized the last time I worked at Days, Abigail was more the child becoming the teen. Now she’s really an adult. Now she’s saying, “I have a point of view. I need to be heard.” And I’m like, “Wow! Another woman in the house.” Aren’t you used to being outnumbered in real life, between your wife and two daughters?
Well, I’ve got a dog, Willie, but he’s been fixed. So I can’t really count him.