‘Days of Our Lives’: What Happens When Lucas Sees His Dead Son? Here’s Scoop from Bryan Dattilo

Michael Logan
Q&A © XJjohnson/jpistudios.com

Bryan Dattilo and Chandler Massey in Days of Our Lives

Is it a ghost or a figment of his liquored-up imagination? Or maybe the real deal? Days of Our Lives’ Lucas Horton (Bryan Dattilo) gets soused and takes his one-man pity party to church, where—on September 15 and 18—he has an encounter with his son Will (Chandler Massey). But wasn’t Will slain in 2015 by Salem’s notorious Necktie Killer? Hey, what gives, Dattilo?

There’s been much excitement about Massey’s return, and fans are assuming that Will isn’t really dead. So what’s with this spectral visitation? Explain!

We keep it mysterious. It’s all shot very cinematically, so you’re not quite sure what’s really going on. But Lucas doesn’t want to believe he’s talking to Will’s ghost. In fact, he rejects the idea. He thinks it’s all in his mind or that maybe God is messing with him. He’s playing the victim and blaming his drinking on his rotten life and on Will’s death. Meanwhile, Will’s looking at his dad like, “You are so in denial about your drinking.” And it’s true. Lucas passes out and wakes up in the hospital. But he’s committed to staying drunk.

Word is, he has a trio of visitors at the hospital, including his mother Kate (Lauren Koslow) and recovering addicts Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) and Maggie (Suzanne Rogers). Sounds like an intervention. How does that go down?

I didn’t anticipate it getting so emotional. I was all set to play those scenes really pissed off at the world but the madder I tried to make Lucas, the more those women got to me. Lucas was supposed to have the edge and tell ‘em they’re all crazy but there I was with the waterworks.  I was a wreck. And then, of course, Sami [Alison Sweeney] is coming back to town, and she gets involved. And Lucas has a lot more episodes with Will. Everybody is, like, “Dude, you gotta get your s--t together!” We’ll see if he does or not.

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The first Will sighting happens just after Lucas has verbally assaulted Paul (Christopher Sean) and Will’s widower, Sonny (Freddie Smith), at their wedding rehearsal. Does Lucas truly resent Sonny for moving on with his life, or is it just the booze talking?

Sober Lucas would never react this way—in fact, he would support the wedding—but drunk Lucas is pissed off. He blasts Sonny for not honoring Will’s memory, and he blames Paul for having sex with Will, which is what drove Sonny and Will apart. He even thinks Paul had the whole thing planned from the beginning. Yeah, it’s crazy talk, but Lucas is miserable—and he wants everyone to be just as miserable as he is. I felt so bad during those scenes.

Because Lucas is such a ass?

No, because I got so worked up that I accidentally spit on Christopher Sean. God, I felt horrible! I still do. Every time I see him I say, “I am soo sorry. It was an accident!” But he was such a pro about it. We’re not supposed to stop a scene unless absolutely necessary so he just stuck with it and didn’t break. [Laughs] But then afterward he’s, like, “Really, man? Are you kidding me?” I will never stop feeling bad about that.

Lucas had been doing so well in his AA program but fell off the wagon when he got dumped by his girlfriend Adrienne (Judi Evans)—not realizing he was actually dumped by her evil doppelgänger, Bonnie. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

And then he woke up after a night of binge-drinking to find Anjelica [Morgan Fairchild] dead in the bed next to him, which only made things worse. The poor guy can’t catch a break. He still has no idea that Anjelica died of a heart attack, which is just adding to his insanity. [Laughs] He thinks he killed her with sex—because he’s so damn studly!

Speaking of sex, when Lucas was getting it on with Bonnie—thinking it was Adrienne—he knew something was physically different about her, even though he was three sheets to the wind. That makes him a hell of a lot more observant than most soap characters who unknowingly sleep with doppelgangers. He should at least get credit for that!

Oh, he was definitely suspicious but then Bonnie threw his head into her boobs to distract him. And what’s Lucas gonna do? Say no to boobs? [Laughs] He was just so happy!

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Some of his recent boozing has been quite funny, which is not exactly PC. Any qualms about that?

I’m a huge fan of the Dudley Moore movie Arthur.  I love funny drunks, because usually when you’re drunk you think you’re funny but you aren’t. So a truly funny drunk is the best. The writing has definitely taken it to a comedic place but this is also the most in-depth I’ve ever gone. It’s my favorite storyline ever. We’re getting to the root of my character’s pain in a way we never have before.

What’s the chance of a happy ending here? When the Adrienne switcheroo is over, won’t things with her and Lucas just go back to normal?

[Pause] Well…there is always that possibility.

That doesn‘t sound very hopeful.

We don’t know where Lucas will be at that point in the story. How far down the path of destruction will he go? This goes far beyond not having his woman anymore.  He really has to deal with himself. His relationship with Adrienne is not a dead issue—it definitely gets addressed—but I’m not sure the audience ever really bought them as a couple. Justin and Adrienne were iconic, right up there with Bo and Hope, as far as I’m concerned.

What, you’re giving up?

You never want to mess with that supercouple thing. I think everyone pretty much knows those two will end up together. There’s just too much history there. And Lucas is at his lowest point ever. Well, except for that time he got beat up by a woman, who turned out to be Andre [Thaao Penghlis] in drag.  [Laughs] I remember lying on the ground during that scene thinking, “What the hell? This ain’t supposed to happen to soap opera guys! What is happening to my life?”

Days’ new head writer, Ron Carlivati, clearly sparks to you in a way some other writers haven’t. Did you guys have a big powwow when he came on board?

Nope. No meeting. No phone calls. In fact, I’ve only met him once when he was madly running through the hallway at Days. I only had time to say, “Thank you! Thank you!” That was it. I was really shocked to see such a great story come my way but also concerned because, when you play a drunk on a soap you can easily end up in prison or rehab—both of which already happened to Lucas—and then you’re off the map for a while. Way off the map. As an actor, you don’t want either one of those things to happen. But, as you know, we shoot several months ahead of what you see on air and I can tell you that this story will go in a very surprising, rewarding direction. I’m doing my best to deserve this opportunity.

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 Do you want Lucas to get better even if it means a less dynamic showcase?

Listen, I’m having a blast with this but, yeah, he should absolutely get better because the alternative could be death and what kind of showcase would that be? That brings me back to Arthur. At first, you think it’s extremely entertaining that he’s such a hilarious drunk but you also know that, deep down, this guy must be so sad. You want him to get better. You want him to get the girl. You want him to win. I’ve done my own research at AA meetings. This disease never goes away. You can subdue it and control it but you can never really conquer it. Just like with Lucas, you can lose family and friends and jobs—you can lose absolutely everything—but that bottle is always there for you. I like that we’ve never lost sight of that.

Booze has been a problem for Lucas from the get-go, right?

Sami caught him sneaking his mother’s alcohol during my first week on the show—and that was 24 years ago! He was trying to keep it a secret right off the bat.

And he nearly killed Will in a drunk-driving accident.

Yep. Make a list of the worst things drunks can do and we’ve pretty much checked ‘em off. Getting all this great dramatic stuff to play has certainly been a reward. But the greater reward is that there are a lot of people in our audience who can really relate to Lucas’ struggle, people who watch this storyline and realize that they, too, need to get help with their addictions. Daytime has a lot of power in that way. It always has. And I couldn’t be prouder to be part of that.

Days of Our Lives, Weekdays, NBC

TV Guide Magazine

This article also appeared in the Sept. 18–Oct. 1 issue of TV Guide Magazine

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