Sarah Brown (Madison, DAYS) discusses her new character Madison James, life on set at Days of our Lives and more!
Last Wednesday, TVSource Magazine headed to the set of Days of our Lives, getting a sneak peek at what fans will see when the series “reboots” itself beginning September 26. The show wants fans to embrace their theme for summer, “Watch now to see how we change” and during our visit to the set of “DAYS 2.0,” we were given the opportunity to see just how much has changed. We were treated to a sneak peek at the brand new, massive Horton Square set (there are multiple new sets as well) and interviewed some of the stars. Each day for the next week we’ll publish one (maybe two) of our interviews with the stars who participated in the tour. (Editor’s Note: Photos from our interview with Sarah Brown are unable to be published until Thursday due to restrictions.)
When Sarah Brown makes her debut on October 4 as cosmetics magnate Madison James, it will mark the three-time Emmy winner’s fifth soap role on her fourth soap opera. Coming off a one-and-a-half year stint on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful, Brown was excited to be working at Days of our Lives. “I’ve only been here three weeks but the show is changing. It’s so different than anywhere else I have worked. The show is in the midst of a reinvention.”
Brown says the environment at DAYS is “open and organic.” Having worked on three other soap operas, Brown knows how important a good working atmosphere is for the cast. “It’s like if you have an issue with something or someone, you will be listened to – not to say you weren’t on other shows – but it just really feels like there is a community environment here. You have an open door to the boss; not on the day [of filming] but ahead of time so you can work things out.” The actress says the friendly atmosphere makes it easier to express how you feel. “Some places I’ve worked had schedules so tight that there is no room for any fun and everyone is stressed, making it a lot harder to say something.” The actress notes the amount of vacation time offered to the cast makes things easier too. “I am on board 100 percent with the model Greg Meng [new co-executive producer] has going forward. It’s really good here – I have it really good here.”
As we began talking about her new character, Brown expressed she’s thrilled to be played a more “girly” character. “Madison James is CEO/CFO of Mad World Cosmetics, a very successful international cosmetic line started by her. It is very edgy, but feminine; it is very sort of pin-up girl if you will,” notes the actress. “She comes to town to make a deal with Titan and crosses paths with Kate DiMera [Lauren Koslow] and that doesn’t go well. Nate Berkus comes on as a friend of my character and helps her out with things, getting all up in [Kate’s] face. It’s really fun. And of course a man enters the picture that catches her eye in the form of Brady,” she teased. Brown was also excited to play a woman with so many layers, pointing out the two different worlds Madison lives in. “[They’re] showing a woman who is in a very powerful position – having her own money and having done it herself up out of the trunk of her car – building it square by square but doesn’t put up a suit of armor. She is very open and beautiful and feminine. She’s very Sarah Jessica Parker – as you would expect a woman who runs a cosmetics company to be. She’s selling a fantasy and she is living a fantasy.”
When it was announced Brown would be playing Sami’s new boss, fans wondered about the connection between the two women. “I do get involved with Sami and I love working with Alison Sweeney,” says the actress. “I have known her – and everyone for years through events and award shows. You know we all either vote for each other…. or not. The last time I saw her was at a charity event she and I did together for the Red Cross with NBC LA.” Brown went on to comment Sweeney even more. “Though I have never worked with her before, I love her and I enjoy making her uncomfortable,” the actress teased. “As I will be doing a lot since Madison and Sami are not exactly strangers.”
Brown launched her daytime career ABC’s General Hospital, playing hell raiser Carly Corinthos from 1996-2001. She would return to GH in 2008 playing an entirely new character, mob princess Claudia Zacchara. When asked about her thoughts on ABC axing two of its soap operas and the future of soaps in general, Brown gave a rather candid answer. “It’s survival of the fittest. It’s inevitable that things change and if you don’t want to change then it’s not going to work. I am not happy about those shows being taken off the air,” said the actress, expressing her unhappiness with ABC’s decision. “I’m not sure if those shows will [succeed online] but what I [do] know is this show has a really great shot because they are changing. Instead of cancelling those shows [ABC] could have changed them but perhaps that isn’t what they wanted. There is no reason to end it you know? If a primetime show gets cancelled, they don’t stop making primetime shows they make changes. Give the women and gay men what they want and frankly it is a lot of sex we want – it is. It’s the middle of the day and you take a break from being busy.”
“[Soaps] are supposed to appeal to women and I know my teenage daughter would watch it if they did some different things like they used to,” said Brown. “I know my fifty-six year old mother would watch it if they did too. I know there is a way to get all three of us to go running to the TV in the middle of the day, or at least our DVR. All shows need to do that – Days included and I have a lot of faith Days is going to do that. [They] need to change from the bottom up.”