TVSource Magazine talks with Days of our Lives star Galen Gering (Rafe Hernandez) regarding his current storylines. From Rafe’s new love interest to the drama surrounding his sister, Gering dishes his feelings regarding Rafe’s past, present and family.
Is there anyone on Days of our Lives that’s more of a “good” guy than Rafe Hernandez? He’s Salem’s top cop, standing for truth, justice and the American way. I’m not kidding. Galen Gering plays Salem’s own version of Superman. He stands by his convictions, is loyal to those he loves and always tries to do the right thing. But Rafe is also flawed. Whether it’s his occasional lax in judgment for love (Sami), protecting a friend (Nicole) or a secret, scandalous affair (Kate), Rafe is still a good guy.
TVSource Magazine gave Gering a ring to find out how he feels about his character’s new relationship with Kate, the ending of Sami & Rafe and the bond between Rafe and Gabi.
TVSource Magazine: What are your thoughts on Kate and Rafe’s relationship thus far?
Galen Gering: It’s definitely been fun. I don’t think that either one of these two people got into this relationship thinking that they would be in a relationship. That wasn’t the point of it at all. It just sort of happened.
Obviously it’s a surprise for both of them. I don’t think that they want anything out of it and I think that it’s unique for a daytime relationship. A lot of times the relationships are kind of like you’re looking for this heartfelt, long-lasting thing and I really don’t think that’s the case with them. They’re just like in the right place at the right time and it’s cool and they’re just adults and they’re approaching it as so. I like that. It’s fun.
TVSource: Did their initial dislike for each other stem from their loyalty to their partners at the time?
Gering: Oh yeah, of course. [It was also] the fact that she was married to Rafe’s arch-enemy Stefano. [So] of course that came into play. I think the fact that he found out that [Stefano] basically blackmailed her into marrying him sort of eased the blow. So you have to be open for change. I think we’re making it work and having fun with it.
TVSource: This is like your first time really getting to work with Lauren [Koslow]. How do you like working with her?
Gering: Lauren is awesome. She’s just a really cool, creative, easy-going person. As an actor, that’s an amazing gift. Her personality is like totally different than that of Kate. She’s totally different as a person.
TVSource: Do you share her intense love of David Bowie as well?
Gering: Not the extent that she does [Laughs]. Holy mackerel! She’s like off her rocker with that one. It’s hilarious.
TVSource: Very loyal and dedicated fan that Lauren is to Mr. Bowie.
Gering: Oh my god [Laughs]. Although I did see a documentary on PBS or something like that a few months ago right when the characters got together. I was like, “I better watch this so we have something to talk about.” Then I went to her and was like, “What about that documentary?” and she was like “What are you talking about?” and I was like “You haven’t seen it?” I thought it was pretty funny.
TVSource: Rafe’s been in town for many years now, but there’s still a lot about him that is unknown. Like we know about his ex and how that relationship ended, but there’s still so much to find out. Would you like the show to explore more of Rafe’s past and where he came from?
Gering: My god yes! Especially if it was good. I think that the initial set up was really mysterious. His wife had died basically on their wedding day and you never really knew anything about it. So you were like, “Wow does this character have any weird baggage?” I don’t know for whatever reason, I mean there’s been a lot of changes at the show, but they haven’t really gone back into that.
I would have thought they would, especially with bringing in siblings and things of that nature that they would have brought some of that up. I mean, we’ll see. There’s some big new storyline stuff coming for me and it’ll be interesting to see whether or not they do delve into that or if it comes into play. I hope it does for sure.
TVSource: How did you feel when you learned Rafe and Sami would be breaking up over what happened with Will and Gabi?
Gering: Well….I don’t know. It sort of waffled back and forth obviously for a month or so. You know, I don’t know if it was definitely the strongest thing that could have broken them apart, but I’m not really in charge of that stuff. If it’s something that I don’t really feel strongly for, I don’t really comment on it because it won’t do anything.
I think there were other extenuating circumstances [besides Will and Gabi]. Obviously the primary reason they broke up is things just became too much at the time for them, you know, with trust issues. Sometimes it happens in life – the little things are just indicative of a bigger problem. As an actor, I have to look to something like that to support the situations that my character is going through. Like, “Oh ok, this situation with my sister – I’m very loyal to my family, [to my] sister. Really, I just can’t trust [Sami] to be honest. Why am I going back to this road when it’s just going to lead to more B.S.? You know, there’s nothing good at the end of this road so stay away.” You know what I’m saying?
TVSource: Yeah. It makes sense from Rafe’s perspective to examine it that way.
Gering: You just sort of have to like wrap your mind around it that way. As opposed to like, “Was that the right reason?” Life’s complicated.
TVSource: You mentioned Rafe’s loyalty to Gabi. I really enjoy their relationship. It seems to be more than just Rafe being her brother – it’s like he’s her father too in a way. How would you characterize their relationship and Rafe’s desire to protect her?
Gering: Thank you first of all. I care so much about that relationship. It’s really become one that, for me, jumps off the screen. It’s very real. [Camila Banus] just a delight. It’s funny, she would always say to me like, “I always love our scenes. They’re my favorite scenes and I just love working with you.” She sort of noticed [the connection] before I did. I just always sort of played it [as is]. Then I was like, “Wow! This is just an awesome relationship to have.” A lot of people comment on it now. I’m just so thankful for it.
It’s sort of helped me, well it definitely helped me, who am I kidding [Laughs], when I didn’t really have that strong of a story. I’ve had a relationship with her [to fall back on]. It’s been unique. So it’s very important to me and there’s definitely a feeling of this guy has to look out for her. He’s not only her older brother, but he’s definitely a parental figure. There’s a lot of weight on his shoulders to make sure that he’s steering her in the right direction. Yet he also realizes that if he tries to steer her too hard, he’s going to push her a way, which is an interesting contrast and part of that complex relationship. Suffice to say, it’s been fantastic and working with her is great.
TVSource: The way Rafe set aside his own issues with Gabi and Nick’s pending nuptials was done well. I feel like a part of Rafe didn’t feel like she was ready to be married. There was a scene with you and Camila where Gabi just poured her heart out to Rafe and he came around for the sake of her happiness.
Gering: Thanks. It’s always interesting being very opinionated. And I think my character is obviously strongly opinionated and a conservative in many ways with regards to like marriage and who you should marry, when and how. Obviously she gets pregnant. There are things that rub him the wrong way about it but ultimately her happiness was the most important thing to him. If that was going to make her happy then that’s it. Move on. It was really fun to play, so thanks for saying that.
TVSource: Rafe’s relationship with Will has also been a favorite for many. Rafe took on that fatherly role with Will as well. Given their closeness, how will Rafe react when he learns the depths of which Nick went to keep Will out of his child’s life and his motivations behind it?
Gering: That’s not cool with Rafe at all. I think that’s just not acceptable. Certainly Rafe loves Will and really cares about him and thinks he’s a great kid despite some of the obstacles that’s been put in his way and people he has to deal with. Rafe’s really been looking out for him.
To find out that he’s been pushed out of his own kid’s life by the person that says he’s going to be looking out for daughter? Not cool. Despite the fact that it’s kind of hypocritical because Rafe’s done some things like that obviously – it’s just not acceptable to him whatsoever. I think there’ll be serious consequences because of that. Rafe doesn’t judge people in terms of sexuality or whatever, he judges them as a person. I think that’s always been something I always really loved about this character; his sense of equality. So bigotry and [hate] is unacceptable to him. It’s not going to go over very well, at all.
TVSource: You’ve been in the soap business for 14 years. How do you keep your characters interesting? How do you keep it fresh?
Gering: [Laughs]. That’s a good question. First of all it’s just been great to have a job, I’ve been on a couple of shows, for as long as I have. I don’t know if you always succeed at this, but you always look for something that’s potentially different. I mean a lot of times it’ll be in a story that will be a story you feel like you may have played before or a situation. So I try to make choices that are unique for that situation. Create scenes for instance, with Rafe and Kate. There was a scene where it’s like, “Oh they’re in bed again.” So you cut into this little mini set of my bedroom and they’re supposed to just be lying there. So as these scenes started to come and come again in scripts, I was like, “Okay, it has to be different. They can’t just be lying in bed again.” Like you’ve already seen that. So there’s one at the top of the bed and one at the end of the bed. Or one getting into the bed. Like, what has happened before this scene? How are we starting the scene? I think things like that make a difference.
TVSource: It really does break up the repetition.
Gering: It’s like, “Oh my god there’s a story there.” They’re not just like lying in some set of a bed. It’s really like there’s so much in the details. So despite the fact that we are in such a hurried pace, sometimes you’re on your way home and you’re like, “Oh my god I wish I would have done XYZ.” If you’re thinking about the scenes and potentially you’ll be able to works something in. Whether it’s some choices you’re going to make or a prop you’ll bring in or a back story to an otherwise mundane scene or a scene we’ve seen before, you always have to try and do that and you always have to fight for it because we’re always up against the clock. That’s the hardest thing that we have to face.
TVSource: Does that lead to different acting choices?
Gering: Being an actor you might do a scene and you’re like, “I really want to do that scenes again,” but you really don’t have that luxury. It’s hard but I think my success lies in trying to think about those things and trying to bring those things in. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t.