Whether it is legendary soap super couples like Bo & Hope, Jack & Jennifer or John & Marlena, Days Of Our Lives is known as the soap that launched a litany of some of soaps most famed pairings. As the Peacock limited Days spinoff Beyond Salem launches, one of the most important super couples to hit screens is getting their own time to shine. Will & Sonny (portrayed by Chandler Massey & Zachary Atticus Tinker) have a story filled with love, intrigue and some madcap humor, and these two performers are more than ready to step into the spotlight on this new venture. I sat down to chat with Massey & Tinker and we chatted about bringing Will & Sonny to a new audience, what we can expect from the dynamic couple in this new environment, and who exactly does a better Billie Reed, soap veteran Lisa Rinna or drag dynamo Jackie Cox?!
Michael Cook: The first episode of Beyond Salem lays the ground for Will & Sonny’s storyline. What does it feel like to be launching a brand new era for residents of Salem?
Chandler Massey: It feels great. We’re just going to be opening up franchises left and right.
Zachary Atticus Tinker: A video game is next!
MC: What does it feel like to bring Will & Sonny into an area where there are returning favorites as well as newer characters, and in a format where your characters can truly shine?
CM: It feels great. It’s a mix of familiar faces and new faces and it really helps the energy and the chemistry of the show.
MC: Zachary, what is is like for you to inhabit the established role of Sonny Kiriakis and immediately be thrust into such a front burner show?
ZAT: It feels really good. It was a blast. It was a really easy transition. Everyone was so nice and was so on their stuff and knew what they were doing and on top of everything. The whole process of transition was so comfortable and easy and so much fun.
MC: Being part of the first male supercouple in the history of daytime is truly a landmark moment. From Bo & Hope to Jack & Jennifer to Justin & Adrienne to now Will & Sonny, supercouples are part of the fabric of Days of our Lives. Is is surreal being part of that history from the inside?
CM: Not to me at all. It feels right.
MC: Do you feel that being legacy characters, as opposed to being brand new characters to Salem, is an important part of telling the story of Will & Sonny?
CM: Definitely. It puts the story front and center. Every character is important, but you make a good point. If we had just come in, were related to no one and had our own side story, I dont think that it would be as impactful. And the viewers would be able to tell, they don’t “value” the story as much as they could.
ZAT: It doesn’t feel like it is shoe-horned in there to meet a quota or a standard. They are telling the story because it is a story that they want to tell.
MC: Zach, when you got the bible of Sonny’s backstory, is there anything that totally left you gobsmacked?
ZAT: Actually, no. The only thing that really made my jaw drop and go “okay” were things that I unfortunately can’t tell you about storylines in upcoming episodes (laughs). It’s like “okay let’s do it”! They really let us have a lot of fun; I dont think that I have ever done anything as out there and fun on any project, movie, television or play. I can’t reference what it is yet, but what we got to do was a blast.
MC: Bringing in the characters of Leo (played by Greg Rikart) is very soapy, love triangle included.
ZAT: I wasnt really privy to the characters previous relationship, although I did work with him previously on Y&R (Zach played Fenmore Baldwin while Greg Rikaart played his uncle Kevin Fisher). We are friends and he really shines in these episode. They let Leo be the comedic relief and they gave him some really funny dialogue. It was really fun. Chandler and I are kind of the “straight” men of the scenes, comedically at least. Leo is just a funny and off the wall character and he really was a blast to play with.
MC: Chander, there is so much you did as Will on the show and everyone was thrilled to see you return. What is the one thing you feel during your tenure as Wil
CM: Well it may be obvious, but Wil’s coming out story by far. It was the most meaningful with the highest stakes and was so well written. They took the time and let every beat develop naturally. That story for sure, and then Will & Sonny fall in love, and letting it be sweet and innocent, but also letting it be sexually charged. That as the golden era of Will & Sonny; besides the upcoming era, that was the golden era. but this is the platinum era coming up.
MC: Okay gentleman, who does a better Billie Reed, Lisa Rinna or Jackie Cox?
CM: Okay…thats’s a close one..
ZAT: You’re just going to have to watch to see….
MC: As actors and advocates, when do you both feel the most authentically yourselves and the most comfortable in your own skin?
ZAT: Ironically enough, when I am on set. I would say that is when you totally get to let go..your inhibitions and fears. At least for me. I am a very anxious, OCD crazy person. Being on set and being in a scene with someone and being fully present in weirdly when I feel the most me.
CM: When I am in the bathroom. For the same reasons. All the inhibitions are gone, just me…no ones watching (laughs).
‘Beyond Salem’ airs on Peacock
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