Days of our Lives stars Greg Vaughan (Eric) and Arianne Zucker (Nicole) sat down for an interview with TVSource Magazine during the “Day of Days” fan event at Universal Studios this past Saturday. The actors discuss Nicole’s rather friendly past with the Brady men (and Ari’s new hairstyle), as well as the challenges involved in portraying sensitive storylines, including the recent male rape of Eric Brady.
2013 has been a year of change for Nicole, but Ari Zucker’s gone through changes as well. The actress recently chopped off her signature locks and sported a great new haircut during the event. “I had a plan, it took me 6 months to do it,” said the actress proudly.
“I have a plan too, but they won’t let me exercise it,” mused Vaughan.
Prompting Zucker to point out, “You’re a priest!” as if priests cannot have good hair.
The comfortable rapport between the stars didn’t go unnoticed. Alternating between admiration, compassion and humor, it’s not a surprise that their relationship off-set only enhances their work on-screen.
In a rather humorous exchange, Ari asked Greg if he knew Eric’s middle name. “He has one?” asked Vaughan laughing. “Roman?”
That answer would play a part in what soon followed. When asked what Nicole’s three wishes would be, Zucker states, “Those are my three wishes, Eric Roman Brady,” prompting a table wide discussion over Nicole’s interaction with Eric’s relatives, Roman and Brady.
Vaughan was surprised when he learned Nicole had a past with someone other than Brady. “Wait a minute, you hooked up with my father,” asked the actor, surprised. “I knew about my brother…,” said Vaughan, his voice trailing.
“[Yes!] That will be interesting if they ever bring that up,” points she pointed out.
“Maybe that’s why he’s always trying to steer me clear of you,” quipped Vaughan in response.
As for Eric’s three wishes, Vaughan took a minute to think about it before responding. “No drugs necessary. No collar and a new wardrobe,” he said with a smile.
Fans were thrilled when the hunky soap veteran joined the cast of Days of our Lives last fall as Eric Brady. After years away, Sami’s twin brother was finally coming home to reunite with his family. Many hoped Eric’s return would lead to a rekindled romance with former love Nicole Walker. Some might have been weary when it was revealed that Eric was coming back a very different man than he was before – especially now that he’s a priest. Fortunately, the writers had a plan that would not only bring the characters closer, but undo the damage done to Nicole by previous, ill-conceived storylines.
Over the course of a year, both tried to resist their growing feelings, stymied by Eric’s vow to the church. Falling in love with a priest would pretty much guarantee Nicole a spot in hell, but Eric’s religious conviction would be the list of their problems. Eric fell victim to Kristen’s sinister revenge plot against Marlena, in which she donned a disguise, drugged and raped him. Eric struggled to recover his memories from that night. The more he remembered from that night, the more evidence mounted that pointed to Nicole as the culprit. Eric would eventually confront Nicole, blindsiding with his accusation of rape!
Now that the truth is out, Eric is facing a crisis of faith while also struggling to come to terms with his attack. He’s also desperate for the one thing that Nicole doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to give him – forgiveness.
Zucker notes that while challenging, the scenes were necessary for Eric and Nicole to stop dancing around their feelings. “I think for the characters it is a little therapy, we are expressing things about each other that we needed to say, finally, and not run from. That was cathartic, but then the accusation [that she raped him] ripped her heart out. When she caught on, it was like ‘My father did that to me –putting me in situations like that,’ how in the heck, after I am trying to be a better person, can you believe that I would do that to you?”
Both actors praised the angle of Eric accusing Nicole. “We had a lot of build up because of Eric wanting to confront her when the matches came up… and all these little key things,” says Vaughan. “Then, finally, overhearing the conversation of her [expressing] her feelings to Brady. I think that is when everything was like, ‘oh my god’.”
Vaughan describes the confrontation scenes as a very big place to go. “I am very critical of [my performances]; I am playing a man who has become the rape victim. Trying to [go to] that place was a challenge in itself, but once we got into our comfort zone I felt fine. I loved our first night [of filming]. It was just trying to pick up the same steam the next day to get the big impact,” reflects the actor. “Hopefully it came off that way.”
When it came to getting into the mindset of portraying a character who is the victim of rape, Vaughan says he went to a place of very deep thoughts. “I just had to feel as if that actually took place, it was a challenge but it is part of the work, part of the process mentally and physically.”
Vaughan admits filming the confrontation over multiple days was very challenging. “It was hard to do one chapter, then to go home, and [try] to regenerate the same thing the next day.”
Zucker complimented her co-star on his performances and suggested he stop being so hard on himself. We’d have to agree!
The drama ahead for this fan favorite couple is just beginning. As seen in the November sweeps promo, Nicole isn’t so quick to forgive Eric after his accusations and lack of faith in her, and rightfully so.
TVSOURCE MAGAZINE “DAY OF DAYS” COVERAGE 2013
- ‘Day of Days’ Interview: Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn Preview John & Marlena’s Reunion
- ‘A Day of Days’ Interview: Blake Berris, Camila Banus and Kate Mansi
- ‘A Day of Days’ Interview: Casey Moss and Jen Lilley
- ‘A Day of Days’ Interview: Greg Vaughan and Ari Zucker Talk Eric and Nicole’s Big Confrontation