The year 2021 was undoubtedly a roller coaster of a year but for rising Days of Our Lives actor, Carson Boatman, it was the year counting blessings. From a wedding celebration to a big break in Daytime, there was a lot for DAYS’ resident Iowan to be thankful for last year. After speaking with him over the course of an hour, getting to know the actor with his charismatic Iowan twang and ever thankful heart, it’s clearer than ever that DAYS secured a great talent.
As we all know, the devil is truly in the details, so I hope you set aside some time, settle in and get to know Carson Boatman with me.
TV SOURCE | First of all, I just had to start this interview off on a serious note. I’m wondering, are you feeling particularly evil today? I need to know; do I need to watch out for anything? I know the devil travels through WiFi and uses Memojis now, so I’ve gotta be careful.
That, he does. I would love to answer that question but if I am gonna try any sly tricks, I can’t have you know about it before.
TV SOURCE | (laughs) That actually sounds like something someone possessed would say. I’ll have to be careful around you. So 2021 was a really busy year for you.
First of all, congrats on your wedding! How’s it been? I’m sure the wedding planning process was a lot to deal with so how does it feel now being on the tail-end of that?
It was a lot. But it feels blissful to be married to the love of my life, honestly. It’s just been great, but the wedding planning was a little stressful. Fortunately for me Julana did take the brunt of that on.
I just was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! If you like it, yeah! If you like it then that’s great.”
TV SOURCE | There always needs to be that type of person – the “yes” man.
Whatever makes you happy!” I can’t tell you how many times I have said that in the last 12 months.
TV SOURCE | I support compromise. 2021 also brought you into the world of Salem, USA. I’m very curious to hear a little about how the audition process was for you.
This is gonna be a bit long-winded so I hope you’re prepared.
TV SOURCE | (laughs) I’m ready.
So in 2020 of March, I don’t know if you remember or not but everything got a little nutty. March of 2020, not 2020 of March. You know what I mean. (laughs)
It was a little weird in the world and we’re living together in Los Angeles. I was as I still am, I guess, an aspiring actor and she has a successful modeling and hosting career. But I kinda lost my job, my side gig which is actually your main job if you’re an actor, usually.
It’s like, when you tell someone you’re an actor, they’re like, “Oh, where do you wait tables?” But- (laughs) So I lost my job, we weren’t making a lot of money and so we actually moved in November of 2020 to Nashville, from Los Angeles to Nashville, packed up everything, sold everything we own, threw everything else in the car, and drove to Nashville. We arrived in late November, early December, rented a house. We’re trying to start our new lives as an engaged couple in Nashville thinking that [acting] wasn’t gonna work out.
Then in February of 2021, Julana was out of town. She was back in LA, actually. She was out of town working and I was in Nashville with a bad case of Covid-19. I ended up getting an audition for Days of Our Lives ‘cause though I moved to Nashville, my manager hadn’t told my agents so that they’ll continue submitting you for things. You self-tape everything now anyway.
So, I get this audition feeling sick, trying my best and I end up getting a callback which was amazing. Did a callback with the producers, still sick and I was just like, “Just fake it. You can fake it for 10 minutes, Carson. Come on. Just do it.”
TV SOURCE | That is acting.
That all went well, thankfully. I got a call from my agent saying, “Hey, great news! DAYS really liked you. They want you to come into the studio and screen test like, next Friday or something. And I was like, “Sick! By the way, I live in Nashville. So, uh- Can we work something out?”
So, they flew me out and put me up, I did the screen test on a Friday, left from LA on a Saturday morning, got back to Nashville, hung out with Julana on Sunday and then Monday, got a call saying, “Congratulations, you booked DAYS!”
TV SOURCE | Just wow!
Let me tell you, it’s somewhere on video because Julana was filming it. I just started crying. (laughs)
I kinda thought I’d been trying to be an actor for nine years and it just hadn’t quite happened yet. In my mind, I was trying to figure out the next thing. How am I gonna figure out a way to support this family that I’m gonna be starting. To get that life-changing call was incredible.
So we then sold everything we had just bought, rented a U-Haul, put everything else in our cars and drove back across the country, moved into the exact same duplex except now we’re upstairs instead of downstairs.
TV SOURCE | I don’t blame you for crying! Do you ever knock on your neighbor’s door downstairs like, “Hey, this is my old space?” (laughs)
Funnily enough, another buddy of mine from Iowa, where I’m from, ending up moving out here around the same time and he moved below us. Then his sister actually ended up moving in across the street and now we have this little Iowa clan on the street.
TV SOURCE | That’s perfect and funny that you brought it back to your roots and being from Iowa.That ties into my next question. Of acting – which I’m glad you toughed it out and faked it until you made it – and singing, what came first for you? Was it a love for music or a love for acting? I’m very curious about that.
That’s a hard one. I don’t know what came first. I’ve loved them both since I can remember, you know?
The first song I ever remember hearing or knowing how to sing, I guess, I was probably four years-old and it was I Can Still Make Cheyenne by George Strait. I remember just very vividly, sitting in the car with my dad. We were just coming back from throwing – we used to live in this small town called Hamburg, Iowa, and my dad and I’d take our dog Max out to the river and just throw a ball and he’d go out and swim, bring it back.
But I remember being in his car and hearing that song and then I’d run around the house in my underwear and cowboy boots, you know, strumming this guitar. It probably sounded horrible, ear-piercing. But also, at the same time, I remember running around the house pretending like I’m Danny Zuko, sliding down the banister, singing too.
You know, I’ve just always loved music and movies. I think they’re so magical because they just take you to another place. That three minutes the song’s going, you’re in another place. You’re in someone else’s shoes and you’re feeling how that character is feeling, you know? Same with a movie, only longer. To me, it’s inspirational.
I also think it’s a cure for a lot of things. It shows you that kind of anything is possible.
TV SOURCE | I understand what you mean with that.
I’ve always wanted to do that from a young age. To be a part of that magical process.
TV SOURCE | I really love that. I’m very curious about this. You came onto DAYS in such a big way and even then, into an even bigger role. After you got this huge, you know, life-changing news, did you feel any pressure about learning the history of the character?
I don’t know if I felt pressure. I felt that obligation to learn about the history of the character and what he’s been through and also just the history of the entire show. But I never felt afraid of it or pressure from it. I just loved and still love everything about it, every second of – again, it’s like I don’t have words because I feel so blessed and so thankful. I just love every part of this entire process that has happened so far.
TV SOURCE | I love to hear that! I think the enthusiasm shows on-screen which I think is why a lot of people have really taken to you. I’m sure you’ve seen it on Twitter here and there, but people are really enjoying having the character of Johnny back and they’re specifically enjoying you in the role. So major kudos to you there.
I don’t know if it’s that but thank you very much!
TV SOURCE | No, no, no! Enjoy it. You keep enjoying it and the fans will enjoy it as well. You should already know that you’re doing a great job because you won Outstanding Newcomer from Soap Opera Digest along with Raven Bowens. How did it feel getting that announcement?
It felt good! Coming up on the Emmys, I hope it’s a little bit of foreshadowing.
TV SOURCE | That would be a great trajectory to follow! But touching back on your character’s introduction, but also just the entire kind of group that has kind of blossomed around Johnny. I think all four of you are doing a really awesome job and I’d like to know what that’s like. What’s all four of your dynamics working in these scenes together? You, Raven [Bowens], Lindsay [Arnold], and Lucas [Adams].
It’s a lot of fun. (laughs) I love that they’ve kind of written for whatever reason that Tripp doesn’t really like Johnny very much and Johnny’s doesn’t really care for Tripp that much either but it’s really fun because Lucas and I get along great. All four of us do. We hang out on a regular basis.
TV SOURCE | That’s really great to hear.
I really feel like what’s cool about DAYS in particular is that it’s been going on for so long.
We’re on season almost 58. A lot of the characters on the show have been on the show for a good majority of the show’s life.
It’s kind of based around these families, and so everyone in some way is either a cousin or a father or a brother or a mother and so on. And there really is that feeling. It’s very familiar.
Everyone is very kind and courteous to each other. And generous and helpful. I love Lindsay Arnold like she is my own sister. She’s so great. We have a lot of fun.
TV SOURCE | I can see that. Is it a sibling dynamic on set? Are you the supportive big brother or do you go as in, like, the annoying big brother who goes after the little sister? What’s that vibe like?
We both just vent to each other about stuff, we gossip, we talk. It’s a very even keel. It’s very – symbiotic. Is that a word?
TV SOURCE | That is absolutely a word. But yes, that translates on screen. Touching on those two characters, they’re both in the most unique love triangle that I’ve ever seen on DAYS.
TV SOURCE | I’d like to know, where would you like to see this twisty love story go? Whose team are you really on? (laughs)
Look, I’m very biased toward Johnny for obvious reasons. But we’re just gonna have to wait and see.
Looking at it from an outside perspective – and this is not trying to influence writing or anything else – but from my standpoint, obviously things have just ended with Johnny and Chanel because of his minor mishap.
TV SOURCE | Just a little one.
Just a little devil in your body. No big deal.
But in the hope that Johnny is able to be freed from the devil at some point, who knows if he is or not, but I think however it ends up, you would hope that she’d be ankle to see that it wasn’t him. It would be hard because he’s done a lot of already hurtful things to her but they were in love, head over heels and got married.
You would hope that they end up together ’cause I really do think Chanel and Johnny love each other. I would hope that they would be able to find that again. But who knows, you know? I could see it going both ways.
TV SOURCE | You never really know with a soap opera and just so you know, I’m team everyone. I want all the messiness.
You want all of us to get together. (laughs)
TV SOURCE | I do, I do! I mean, if Johnny and Tripp are bored then they should definitely hang out, do whatever they want to do. (laughs) That would just make the show even more exciting and dynamic. I would just love to see how the dynamics change as romantic relationships change and shift. Is there anything you can tease about what’s coming down the line?
For the whole quadrangle situation? I’m trying to be very careful and selective here…
TV SOURCE | Not here to get anyone in trouble! (laughs)
I just think Johnny’s in for a rude awakening. If he’s ever able to overcome this. I hope he’s able to. I’m sure that there will be a lot of broken pieces to pick up when it’s all said and done.
TV SOURCE | Yes, as his grandmother knows, I’m sure.
She’s going through it now! Maybe they can have a powwow.
TV SOURCE | On the topic of Johnny’s grandmother, you have the iconic Marlena Evans. What was that like when it was presented that you would be essentially getting the devil’s torch passed along to you?
You know, this is such a huge iconic story for the show.
It’s like, “Hey, so here’s the deal. We wanna enter you in a slam dunk competition. Um, no big deal. It’s just – it’s you and LeBron James. But it should be fine. It should be just fine.”
TV SOURCE | You got this! But how do you do it?
The only way I think that I have – the only conclusion I’ve come to on how to follow arguably the most legendary, iconic figure in soap operas is to do it completely different from her. Because there’s no way you can do it the same and think that it’s going to stand up or compare.
So just figure out a way that I feel is authentic to Johnny. Trying to bring a little more, just something different to it. Just a different take.
Same devil, different body. The way that I’m looking at it is Johnny is not the same as Marlena so why should the devil be the same? You know?
TV SOURCE | The devil has to diversify, that’s how you stay successful.
That red suit too. I was walking around the halls wearing that red suit and fricking contacts in my eyes looking ridiculous. And Eric Martsolf came up to me and he said, in Eric Martsolf fashion… Something like, “Hey! Are you auditioning as a serial killer game show host?”
And I was like, that’s actually maybe could be a cool way to play Johnny’s version of the devil. Try and bring a little crazy charisma to it, like sadistic, charismatic, almost kind of funny but very evil. So that’s kind of how I decided I’d play it. So thank you Eric Martsolf for that.
TV SOURCE | Yes, thank you Eric! Now that you tell that story, I actually see it. Here you go leading into my next question again. Was that “Here’s Johnny!” line an ad-lib?
We’re so in sync! This is great.
TV SOURCE | I know! What’s the word you used earlier? It’s symbiotic. Did you come up with that line?
Symbiotic, that’s what this is! Unfortunately, not, I wish I came up with that.
TV SOURCE | You sold it! It definitely gave demonic game show host in that moment. (laughs)
Yeah, no. I read that. (laughs) I was drinking my coffee or whatever and when I was reading, I did a little pfft when I read that. I was looking forward to that day for weeks. I’d be in the mirror practicing, just figuring out the best way to do it.
TV SOURCE | It was funny but also incredibly creepy.
I’m glad you felt that way!
TV SOURCE | Going back to what we were talking about before, the iconic Deidre Hall and your character of Johnny, again, as you mentioned, is everyone’s kind of a brother, cousin, to pretty much everyone in town. Johnny is so smack dab in the middle of every single family in town. (laughs) He can’t go anywhere without finding a family member. But you get to work with, again, Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, and you finally got to actually work with Alison Sweeney. Tell us what it’s like working with these icons.
So, the first day I was working with Alison Sweeney, she probably thought by the end of it, “God, how did this kid even get cast? He’s not even a good actor.” I was so nervous to work with her.
I just remember that my hands were so sweaty, I was so stiff, and I was forgetting my lines. I felt – (laughs) so embarrassed. I had grown up with her on my TV my whole life. You know she’s always been kind of front and center since she came on the show.
It was very surreal and very nerve-wracking working with her but she is a lovely human. I’ve worked with her many times since and it’s always a lot of fun. That is a woman who knows everything when it comes to acting, angles and – I think she’s done some directing.
TV SOURCE | I love hearing this.
There’s no side of this industry, whether it’s performance, the business end or on the other side of the camera that she doesn’t know so well. it’s very cool to just kind of sit back and just kind of watch her go and follow her lead. Soak up as much as you can.
TV SOURCE | I love hearing this. What about Drake?
Drake Hogestyn. I love Drake. He’s one of my favorite people to work with because he’s so down to earth. He’s been on the show for so long and every day it’s like he’s just so excited to be there still. And he’s a joy to be around and always has the craziest stories from way back when and the best advice. He’s a great guy.
TV SOURCE | And finally, what’s it like working with the Deidre Hall?
That’s another incredible human. And side note, she sent us a Christmas card this year which is so cool. Handwritten and everything.
TV SOURCE | Wow, you’re so lucky!
I was so touched. I sent her a text message after. I couldn’t believe it, you know? Now I can say Julana and Carson got a Christmas card from Deidre Hall. Even if it was just one year, one time, we have it. (laughs)
She’s someone who, you know, on the day before we all left for Christmas break, she brought cupcakes for everybody. She’s just that kind of person. There’s not a detail that she doesn’t miss.
And again, I was very nervous to work with her. Everybody knows her, you know? I don’t even care if you watch soap operas. You know her.
TV SOURCE | There’s no way you wouldn’t!
It was very nerve-wracking but she, again, is very smart. She is the queen of lighting, I would say. She’ll grab you like, “Oh, oh, yep. See? Now you feel the light on you. It’s gonna look way better when it airs.”
TV SOURCE | That explains why she always looks so great. She knows her light, she’s glowing. (laughs) I love when I get to speak to a lot of younger actors from DAYS when they speak about the veteran actors guiding them on set. Not only Drake, Alison or Deidre but James Reynolds and so on. Everyone just loves to learn and loves to share and it just seems like it’s such a good environment to do that. So that really makes me happy to hear.
You’re just working with so many veterans who have just been doing it for so long. I mean they’re just, like, the Bible of acting, almost. Or the encyclopedia. There’s so much information in those minds.
They’ve all forgotten things about acting that I’ll never even learn. That’s how much they know.
TV SOURCE | Who is someone you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like to work with?
I’m trying to think if there’s anyone on the show I haven’t worked with now…
I think the only person I haven’t worked with one on one is Xander. Victor and Maggie too, all Kiriakises.
TV SOURCE | Makes sense with that eternal feud.
I could see something cool like if somehow Johnny becomes the head of Dimera and then a new young Kiriakis counterpart of Johnny will be running Titan. I’d love to see a Titan/Dimera head-to-head something. A territory war or something like that. I think that could be cool.
TV SOURCE | I’ve got a great idea for that and it could be a great love interest situation. Chelsea Brady! Chelsea Brady could come back and take over Titan. She is Bo Brady and Billie Reed’s daughter. She’s not technically related to Johnny so it could work! Bo is technically Sami’s uncle but not by blood.
There’s so much!
TV SOURCE | Yo, I know! But DAYS has done weirder things, you’ll be fine.
I know. I was thinking to myself like, man, if this doesn’t work out with Johnny and Chanel, there’s really no one else… I’ll have to start dating family members.
TV SOURCE | (laughs) So unfortunately, we’re almost at time and I’d hate to go without asking about some moments leading up to the closing number for A Very Salem Christmas.
Oh, we had a lot of fun with it. Everyone was just like, “Oh God, this is gonna be on TV.”
TV SOURCE | You all did so well though!
The choreographer was such a good guy. He was so nice and helpful, and I think, um, he gave- he gave us just the right amount of material so that it looks like we did a whole dance but not too much to where it’s too much to learn. ‘Cause we learned it all in probably 36 hours.
We were all really cranky that day because we all hadn’t eaten for, like, four days, you know, because we’re trying to look as tight as possible.
But um, there may have been some backstage libations just to get us ready. I cannot confirm or deny that.
TV SOURCE | Everyone did a great job. Everyone was so committed to the performance and honestly, that’s the most that you could ask for.
That’s the job! Whether you’re stripping as Santa in front of family members, exorcizing the devil from your grandmother, or you’re telling a girl you love her more than anything. It’s just about committing to the character and to the situation and you can’t go wrong from there.
TV SOURCE | Thank you for sharing all of this! This was so much fun.
It was a pleasure.
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New episodes of Days of our Lives air weekdays on NBC and are available to stream exclusively on Peacock for free.
Additional editing by Johnathon K. and Ryan White-Nobles.