'Days of Our Lives' Eric Martsolf on Brady's Love Life, Getting (Another) TV Sibling & 'Passions' Memories

Michael Maloney
Q&A Chris Haston/NBC

The pie pieces of the Black estate on Days of Our Lives just keep getting smaller! Once again, Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) has learned that he’s got a long-lost brother (Greg Rikaart’s Leo) courtesy of his fertile dad, John Black (Drake Hogestyn)!

While he’s not likely to suffer any "daddy issues" over this — Brady’s a grown man, after all — this does give Martsolf a change to interact with the rascally Leo.

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TV Insider chatted with the Emmy-winning Martsolf about Brady getting yet another new sibling, Brady’s love life, his memorable guest spot on Smallville as futuristic hero Booster Gold, those passionate Passions fans and the one thing he might have changed about the show’s finale. Read on to get the scoop!

This is the second time Brady has discovered he has a half-brother.

Eric Martsolf: Yes, you have to include Paul [Christopher Sean].

Is Brady starting to feel displaced?

[Laughs] I don’t know. He doesn’t spend as much time with his father as he used to back in the day. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that a lot of children are popping up as a result of John Black’s tremendous seed. The man has thrown it around in a way that most men on soaps can only dream of.

It’s great when characters are tied to each other through family. What’s it like playing these other levels with Greg Rikaart (Leo)?

I had not met Greg before we started working together. He’s a fun guy with a great sense of humor, everything from our lovely kiss to finding out we are half-brothers.

That’s right. Leo stole a kiss from Brady. There’s a time on soaps where we wouldn’t see something like that.

Soaps have come a long way. Given the historic conservatism of our program, I think the show has done a really good job of breaking down walls and boundaries. We’re still pushing that envelope. I’ve always been a believer that soaps should tell the stories that society needs to hear.

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The daytime vet, who appeared as Anjelica Deveraux on 'DAYS' in the '80s, is returning to Salem in a new role.

DAYS is fun right now. There’s lots of humor on the show.

I think there’s always room for levity in daytime. Along with the shootings and kidnappings, you have to throw in some jokes along the way or else you’d explode. I want to do comedy. My closest friends think it’s hilarious I make a living doing daytime drama because they know that my tendency is to not be serious about anything.

John Aniston (Victor) has always had great zingers; Judith Chapman (Diana) got to play faux grief as she fantasized about Marlena’s many deaths. Has Brady gotten to do much funny stuff over the years?

I’m usually the sounding board for the funny. Just give me a chance to exercise that funny bone! Brady and Lucas (Bryan Dattilo) had some funny drunk moments in Doug’s Place, but they are few and far between.

(NBC)

You got to play humor when you played Booster Gold on Smallville. How much fun was that?

That was my favorite role to date. It was funny, heroic, a comic book come to life; I loved getting to play someone who’s completely larger than life. I got credit from my kids for playing a character who’s a member of the Justice League. I still have [fans] from the DC Universe and the Smallville world hit me up on social media, trying to get a Booster Gold movie going on, but now I may have to settle for playing his dad. Then again, he is a time traveler.

Producers have a habit of casting actors from past projects on modern ones. Do you find the fan bases for both daytime and the super-hero world are parallel?

I do. I just read that Jon Cryer (Two and A Half Men) is playing Lex Luthor on Supergirl. If you recall, he played Lex Luthor’s (Gene Hackman) nephew in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. [Producers] love to bring history back and throw it into the mix.

 

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Was there anything from the Smallville episode you got to keep? Probably not the Booster Gold costume!

No, that custom-made to my body leather outfit, I think, was more expensive more than my first house was! I did get to keep several of the Booster Gold fan club shirts [that were in the show as a story point]. At the end of the episode, I, as Booster, throw one to Clark (Tom Welling) and say, ‘You’re an XL, right, Clark?’ I remember after the scene I gave Tom a hug [goodbye] and he said take as many of those shirts as you want.

You’re active and engaged on social media. Is there still snail mail?

The snail mail does still exist. Our soap is very generational and we have viewers who don’t necessarily have a social media presence, but most of the communication is done that way. I tend to respond to the positivity that’s thrown out there. I don’t take part in defending myself against any negativity that I’m happy to say isn’t much out there. I engage when it feels good for everybody. Sometimes, the most powerful thing you can say is nothing. Don’t throw energy into something that’s never going to have a conclusion.

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Any chance we might hear you and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe) sing together?

We actually performed ‘Shallow’ at a charity event in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. It was a karaoke party and it was Nadia’s idea. I thought it was a terrific idea. I think we’re going to do it again in Chicago. Wally Kurth (Justin) is going, too, and he suggested it.

Music used to be a huge part of soaps. If characters couldn’t say they loved each other they could sing it. Fans loved it. Did you sing much on Passions?

There was a time in daytime when money wasn’t as much of a constriction it is now. Today, we don’t have the time or extra nickels to put towards the songs. It’s so unfortunate. There was a time on Passions in which we sang originals songs. Lindsay Hartley (Theresa) and I sang "Sugar, Sugar." It was so "bubble gum." Fans loved it. Whenever I see that Nurses Ball, I am envious of the job General Hospital does on those things. I think we should do a crossover — the Nurses and Doctors Ball.

Eric Martsolf as Brady Black, Lindsay Hartley as Arianna Hernandez (Mitchell Haaseth/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Do you find that there’s still a loyal group of Passions fans out there? Could there ever be a revival?

Yes. I get just as many Passions folks coming up to me on a given week as I do DAYS fans. Just as many. You hear rumblings. We’re in the age of reboots right now. There’s always that chance that someone will want the show to fly again. I always thought Passions would work better on prime time given how kooky and crazy it was.

Sadly, James Reilly [Passions’ creator and head writer] is no longer alive, but he had a team of writers under him who know the show. I’ll never get why Luis (Galen Gering, now Rafe, DAYS) and Sheridan (McKenzie Westmore) weren’t put together in the show’s finale, but, thankfully, Theresa and Ethan were.

They definitely did bring that around [for Ethan and Theresa]. But I agree with you, I think Sheridan should have ended up with Luis, as well. I’ve been in contact with McKenzie recently. We may or may not be working on a little project together. I think she’d love to see that show come back, too.

What’s coming next for Brady’s love life?

Right now, he has this inclination to want to protect Chloe from the evil DiMera grasp.

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DAYS is a show famous for couples. Does Brady have an OTP (One True Pairing)?

That may exist [for Brady] but I don’t think it’s come to fruition just yet. I think some sparks will happen between Chloe and Brady. There will be some fireworks which will be fun for the "Broe" fans. Somebody asked me the other day about Melanie (Molly Burnett). I’ve said to Molly, ‘Why don’t you get your butt back here? Brady needs some help.’ Melanie has been such a great friend to Brady. I really like their relationship. They were friends who tried to go into the deeper end.

Eric Martsolf, Nadia Bjorlin  (Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

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