It’s been over a month since Guy Wilson made his soap opera debut as Days of our Lives’ new Will Horton. Coming onto a show as a recast is an uphill battle to begin with, but when you’re following a popular star who’s won two Daytime Emmys and has a massive fan following, that hill begins to look more like a mountain.
Wilson looked at the challenge ahead as a learning experience. Learning as much as he can about the character, his co-stars and the fandom he was getting ready to become a part of. A lesser actor would be overwhelmed by the road ahead, but the 28-year-old San Francisco native had the right attitude going in. Grounded in his love for the craft, excitement for his new role and support from his co-stars, Wilson’s journey to becoming Will Horton was made just a little easier.
TVSource Magazine spoke with the soap newcomer earlier today about his first months at Days of our Lives, working with love interest Freddie Smith (Sonny) and the importance of playing such a beloved character. I walked away from this interview believing in Guy Wilson’s passion for Will Horton, Will’s relationship with Sonny, and Wilson’s love for working at DAYS. I hope after you read the interview, you will as well.
TVSource Magazine: How would you describe your months on the show?
Guy Wilson: Um, a blur [laughs]? The first couple months was just sort of a race. Getting caught up on the story and getting caught up on the relationships. But the thing with the relationships – it’s one thing to read about them in a character bible, it’s another to play them out or experience them with the counterpart actor that helped create that relationship.
[It was also] transformative in many ways. Going from being an actor auditioning to now having a daily job; it’s been transformative in that respect, but more just in terms of my acting. When you have the opportunity to act every day, you can’t help but grow and evolve as a performer. So that, going hand-in-hand with working with these other seasoned, immensely talented actors on the show – really just opened up a lot of creative channels that made it really exciting. I’m excited to be able to play [Will Horton’s] story.
TVSource Magazine: Were you nervous about taking on a character that has so much history? Especially one that has amassed such a passionate fan base? Were you daunted at all by the role?
Wilson: To be honest, I wasn’t. That is to say, I wouldn’t say I was nervous or daunted, I was very eager to take on the role. I think the sense of motivation I had was just… [Pauses] I felt a very strong sort of responsibility. I mean it is a huge responsibility on many levels. One, the place that the character has in the show. Two, the level of fandom that Will Horton has and three, of course the nature of the storyline and the importance of the storyline to its viewers. So I felt a great sense of responsibility to maintain a level of veracity to what had been done before me. But I also knew that I could do it. I knew it had it in me. So I felt very confident in that sense that I could do this; that I was the man for the job.
TVSource Magazine: What went through your head when you got the scripts for the proposal? ‘WilSon’ fans have been waiting so long for that moment. Did you feel any added pressure to make it work?
Wilson: I was thrilled when I read it. I was excited that the relationship between Sonny and Will had evolved to that level. I felt thrilled and really blessed to be in the position to portray this moment. This moment that is so important on many levels, for many people. To me, it was and is a huge a gift not only as an actor, sure; but also for who I am and what I believe in, [so] to be able to take part in this story, I was thrilled that we were jumping into so quickly after I had come on. It was amazing.
TVSource Magazine: What’s next for Will and Sonny? They’re engaged and in a good place now, but there are so many outside forces that could impact their relationship. What can you tell me that won’t get you into trouble?
Wilson: [Laughs]. That’s an excellent question. I think one area in which I think Sonny and Will are unique on DAYS and really to the medium of soaps in general, is that they have such a strong foundation to their relationship. As a unit they are very strong. But you are correct, there are a lot of balls in the air around them. There’s a lot of tension coming in multiple directions. And so whereas one might expect various other couples to maybe crack or become divisive, one thing that keeps things interesting for Will and Sonny is their strong foundation. I feel like anything is possible with them, so there’s any number of ways in which things can play out because they’re so good at communicating and because they share a trust.
TVSource Magazine: What is your relationship with Freddie Smith off-set?
Wilson: It’s great! Freddie and I, and some of the other actors like Casey Moss [JJ], we all hang out. We actually had a game night at Freddie’s place last weekend. Freddie’s one of my best friends. It’s such a privilege and a blessing to have such a strong relationship with someone outside of work, especially given the nature of our relationship when we are working. I enjoy his company very much.
TVSource Magazine: Was it important for you and Freddie to establish a connection in your real lives to build the foundation for romantic chemistry?
Wilson: Absolutely. I think portraying the chemistry on-screen is of the upmost importance. Freddie and Chandler [Massey, ex-Will] had a great, natural rapport and great, natural chemistry. So Freddie and I, from the get-go, made it clear to one another our desire to have that as well. That’s not to say we wanted to replicate the chemistry he had with Chandler, but for there to be our own natural, abundant chemistry between us and our characters. Because that’s, in any sort of relationship, indispensable.
TVSource Magazine: What would you like to bring to Will that could help put your own stamp on the role? Personally, I think you’ve been doing a tremendous job already, but what would you like to do to further make the role your own?
Wilson: Thank you! I think Will is one of the most compassionate characters on the show. He always wants the best for those closest to him and even for those he’s not close with. He’s one of the most altruistic characters on the show and I love that. But that being said, I think there could be an interesting dimension added to Will if certain storylines evolved in which certain people, and when I say certain people I mean anyone, I don’t have anyone in mind specifically. But to where Will, and ideally with Sonny by his side, is sent into a position of greater power to which people sort of fear him so to speak. So often, because Will is surrounded by such an entity, a lot of his actions are reactionary. But I think it’d be kind of fun if he starts taking actions that force other characters to become reactionary [to him].
I love this relationship and I think, practically since Day 1, Guy has really done a superlative job in making the character his own. The chemistry, as others have noted, with Freddie, is palpable and watching them work together is a lovely window into trust and commitment both on and offstage. You can tell that Guy cares deeply for this character and that is obvious in his work. Beyond all of that, I think it is so important that DAYS has made these characters and this relationship a priority in the context of the “Salem” landscape. Telling modern stories like this — grounded in character rather than nutsy old-fashioned soap tropes — are essential to keeping serials relevant and popular in the future.
When I heard CM was leaving I really couldn’t imagine anybody playing Will. Guy Wilson has stepped in and done such a fantastic job! Every episode I pick little things like the way he said this or how the expression on his face changed and I’m in awe. Don’t even get me started on the chemistry between him and Freddie, it’s organic and it’s so, so REAL when they laugh in a scene I wonder to myself was that a WilSon laugh or a Guy/Freddie one? He’s hitting it out of the park. Thank you, Guy for the hard work you give, and the story you and Freddie continue to tell!!
Great interview. I am interested to see what the writers have in store for Will and Sonny individually and as a couple. Sonny is a business owner, and Will is heading for a writing career. Will is a father and he and Sonny are engaged and heading towards marriage and raising this little girl together. I hope the writers give them some really good storylines to keep them front and center. Guy is doing a great job as Will and has made the character more mature and strong. I love the WilSon relationship and the way they are committed to each other. Thank you for such a clear and informative interview. Now if you could do a joint interview with Freddie and Guy together that would be AWESOME!
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