You kinda answered my next question too. There’s still a lot we’re still learning about Eli and his background, personality, all those things. I’m guessing you get a bit of info fed to you, but do you kind of add other things to him as you go along in scenes?
Yeah, of course I do! That’s part of making a character your own and for me portraying Eli for as long as I have, I kind of blend in little pieces of me. What I think would work with Eli. You know, unless you’re playing a character that’s nowhere near yourself, then I think to an extent, most actors do that in some ways. As far as adlibbing though, just a little bit. Not too much!
You don’t wanna go too far off!
Yeah, the writers spend a lot of time writing down countless episodes. I try not to fuck up their work [laughs]. I try to stay as close as I can. There may be a little adlib that I put in here and there, sometimes I may not say the words right, but they still happen to work for the scene. If that happens then it is what it is. But whatever happens, it has to be pretty damn close to what they’ve written!
“Make sure it fits” is the motto for that, right?
What’s it been like working with so many legendary actors over these last two and half years? You have Vanessa A. Williams, who is everything playing your mother; Susan Seaforth Hayes as your grandmother, which is monumental, Emmy award winning James Reynolds — I’ve been clapping for that Emmy win all year — and now TLC’s T-BOZ! Do you all share stories and tips too?
As far as acting goes, I think we all trust each other, and we all believe that we’re capable of putting on good work. We don’t really share tips actor to actor — which could be kind of awkward [laughs]. As far as outside of work, it’s hard to say. I can’t remember anything off hand but I’m sure there’s been many full-length conversations that have happened between any number of us where there may have been a gem dropped.
It really seems like you all have an awesome energy in your dynamic. I think that’s what a lot of people are always curious about.
With everyone that I’ve worked with and have seen others work with, I’ve never seen anyone beefing or any arguments. Anytime I see people working on the DAYS set, it always seems to be a good time.
That’s what we love!
I always find it so interesting – and I’m not sure if everyone knows – but you started off on DAYS in a small role. Then you left to be on Y&R and now you’re back. How’d it feel coming back as a contract player?
It definitely was kinda weird. I remember it was one of my first days and I was sitting in the makeup room with Kristian (Alfonso). I reminded her like, “I don’t know if you remember but one of my first acting jobs was in a scene with you.” She was like, “Really? That was you?” Yup, the was me playing a Salem cop in an under five (role).
And now you’re cousins.
Yeah, it felt a little weird! I actually did get the chance not too long ago to see the clip, which I hadn’t seen in a very long time. A lot has changed! I think back then all the cops were wearing brown — or at least I was. It was very ranger-esque.
You were like state troopers.
A lot has changed! It was surreal, but I was definitely pleased to come back around full circle.
And I also have to say, thank you for joining DAYS and keeping their social media lit. The bloopers, BTS pictures and clips. It’s just been a steady stream of hilarity that we’re all loving [laughs]. Usually with DAYS’ social media, we use it to snoop around to see who is filming, but now we get to see you help Galen Gering with his ashiness.
I got his back, I got his back! And his legs! [laughs]
Your labelling Eli as “Cop Bae”, I am hoping it’ll take off — and it has taken off by the way.
We’ve really just been loving all of that. Do your co-stars play around with you as much as you do?
I think I’m more of the jokester… and I don’t even go that hard! I could go so much harder, you know but I try to be cool [laughs]. You know what though, Galen is a fool for sure. Any time I’m working with him is always a great time. From what I’ve seen, he’s up there too. Chandler (Massey) is up there too. I’ve worked with him once or twice and he’s a fool too, for sure.
DAYS does social media the best out of the soaps, so definitely keep that up.
Will do, for sure!
Eli and Lani are probably one of the biggest couples right now in the soap community. They’re gaining more and more fans as the weeks go on. Have you been feeling that reaction? We kind of shifted from Ciara and Ben over the summer, now to Lani and Eli.
Yeah, it seems like that! I like the Cin fans so far. They go hard.
And I definitely like them, I’m a fan of them as well. But it definitely seems like the fans have taken a real liking to Eli and Lani as a couple. It’s funny because I was taking to Sal maybe about a week ago and I was telling her that now that Bryton (James) and Mishael (Morgan) – what was their couple name again?
People say Hevon as “Huh-vaughn” but it’s pronounced “heaven.”
And I guess I say “Hee-vin”.
I get it! [laughs]
But ever since I saw that Mishael left the show and that her character had died, I was telling Sal that for the longest — from what I’ve seen — they were the staple African-American soap couple.
I was saying that this could be the time that if the writers write for us and bring a good story, we could become that next African-American top soap couple. We’ll see what the writers do and if they go down that route! But the void is there to be filled.
It’s more needed than ever and more anticipated than ever. People are rooting for you guys to get together. We got your back on all that!
Appreciate that, for sure.
You’d mentioned Cin as well and we noticed that you guys had all been shooting together lately. Is there anything you can tease about that?
Probably not! [laughs]
Well, just the whole Sheila thing. With her coming in and starting trouble between a number of the characters on the show. Primarily, Lani and herself… and Abe. Maybe even a few more sprinkled in there.
Sounds like Sheila’s gonna be busy!
As we wrap up our interviews, we we always love to do a little rapid fire section.
What’s your favorite TV show right now?
Menace To Society.
Wow. That’s my favorite movie too. The rocket in the back of the mail truck!
No, you’re thinking of Don’t Be a Menace!
Oh my God! Damn, I always get them confused… [laughs] Moving on, your biggest pet peeve?
Uh, when people squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube.
Everyone knows to squeeze from the bottom.
It’s a must!
Your dream vacation?
Anywhere where the water is clear blue and I can get in the ocean and see my feet.
My Jamaican dad says the exact same thing. He doesn’t trust unclear water. Breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Favorite way to unwind?
Lay down on the couch and surf the internet.
Dark or milk chocolate?
iPhone or Android?
The best part about being a dad?
The love! Hmm…there’s so much! [laughs] Gosh, just seeing my kids grow up. Nah, I’d say the love I get from them. The love they show in return is crazy.
The best part about being an actor?
Being someone else.
One last thing! What can you tell us about your upcoming projects – whether it’s outside of acting like your writing or directing.
You know, just steadily writing this script with a good friend of mine, Sean Andre. We’re still in rewrites right now. I know people are always like, “Oh, you’re still in rewrites?” Yes. It’s taken a long time but the film we’re working on Draw is still in rewrites. But besides that, DAYS has been keeping me pretty damn busy which I’m not complaining about at all! So just look forward to seeing a lot more Eli on Days of Our Lives.
And don’t tell anyone I got Menace to Society and Don’t Be a Menace confused, they’re gonna take my Black Card.
[laughs] All’s good, all’s good!
Thanks again for the chat today!
Alright man, you have a good one!