Photo: © John Paschal/jpistudios.com

Billy Flynn joined Days of our Lives in 2014 during a major shift on the NBC soap that saw two of its biggest players, James Scott and Alison Sweeney departing. Audiences quickly took to his take on Chad Dimera and especially the character’s eventual supercouple, Chabby with Abigail Deveraux.

TV Source Magazine learned that while his character has shifted from frontburner romantic hero to a more supporting role, Billy has enjoyed every step of the journey with DAYS. There’s a genuine love there for Chad and it shows.

As new stories kick up for the young Dimera heir, we hope you enjoy this time getting to know Billy as an actor and the passion he puts into his complicated character of Chad.

TVSource: You’re entering your 8th year off and on at DAYS. Congrats, does it feel like it’s been that long? What’s changed the most for you in those years?

It doesn’t feel like that long. Well, it does and it doesn’t. I’m a whole different person from when I started and I’ve also accomplished a lot in those eight years.

It feels like a lot when you’re in the day-to-day, but if you look at it as part of the timeline or a chapter, or a couple of chapters of the whole story then you go, “Wow, I did a lot in those eight years.” It’s a cool, great chunk of the whole journey.

Marci Miller, Billy Flynn “Days of our Lives” Set Gallery Shoot 2017 NBC Studios Burbank 09/206/17 © John Paschal/jpistudios.com 310-657-9661

TVSource: Did you ever feel pressured being a part of such a big supercouple on the show, arguably the first big supercouple on DAYS in the 2010s? Did you expect such popularity?

It’s pretty wild to think about. At the time. I didn’t know anything about soaps or super couples. When I was coming into the show, I remember Allison Sweeney had been leaving and James Scott was there for maybe two weeks, so I wasn’t even aware that super couples existed for a time. I don’t know if Chad and Abigail were intended to always be a super couple or if Kate Mansi and I just made something through the work we did.

I’ve always said that there’s kind of a pivotal period a few months in. There is a scene at Will’s apartment where Chad and Abigail both have a breakthrough. At the time, I had started to come into my own as an actor and then Kate and I found our rhythm in that scene too. That’s really kind of where it feels like the spark for Chad and Abigail hit.

And you also asked if I’d seen it coming and I don’t think so, I don’t think I was really prepared for it. At first it was exciting and cool, then your ego takes over because you forget that this is what the show is and how it goes. Even though we’re the first ones in a while, you’re like, “Wow, there’s just never been a couple like this before. We must be doing something special.” There were tons of super couples before us and now the show has Ben, Ciara and others, so it goes on. I just think it was a surprise for me and I think as time has gone on, I’m able to look back and see it was a really cool period.

I did feel the pressure probably in 2018 and I think it had been like three or four years at that point of us being a super couple. We were definitely overworked, in every storyline, and so on. You know, on a soap, happiness is where a couple goes to die and then your ego gets involved, you start to become less satisfied with how the story’s moving along. You feel like, “Well, how do we top what we did?” I also didn’t know how soaps work. I was like, “How do you keep doing the same kind of breakups?” I think even with Chad and Abigail now, I think that’s been the hardest thing. What do you do after that period of time? Unless you have a show that’s still super dedicated to making you guys the couple, but when you’re not, I feel like you just kind of linger in the background. They don’t really work as a super couple if you don’t have the writing to support.

I was lucky I didn’t only strike that kind of gold with one actor, I got it with two. Not an easy thing to do. But long story short, there was definitely a lot of pressure during that period but not so much anymore.

TVSource: Chabby fans are super dedicated and supportive of Chabby in all forms. We’re curious, does it ever feel like a different Chabby when working with Kate vs Marci?

The fans have been absolutely incredible. I think over the years, I think they probably got a little bit frustrated which I can kinda see any time I decide to check in on Twitter. I think the two Abigails, Kate Mansi and Marci Miller are very different and they wrote them differently. The relationship with Chad and Kate’s version of Abigail felt a little bit more young, fiery, passionate and they butted heads a little bit more, you know. Marci’s version of Abigail felt like two people who were really fluid. So you work differently with them. But you also worked the same, right? There were certain things that were through lines.

Since I came on, it was just Chad and Abigail, there was nothing else. That was Chad’s only objective but now you throw in kids. I think with Marci’s version of Abigail, we grew, we aged a little bit with the characters. I think that was a really interesting period. You get to see how a married couple keeps things sexy. I would dance a little bit more, I would be a little bit goofier and you’re more comfortable. I think the hardest part was when Kate came back, because now we’ve developed this thing. Then it became doing that thing with Kate but then Kate left again, then Marci came back and then I just realized I had to play Chad consistently. But they’re both so good.

Ultimately, you know, we don’t create the story. We just say what’s on the page. Sometimes you have to play against some of the writing to still have a connection because writing can kind of pull you apart. Relaying back to your first question, I think that is where the pressure comes when you’re playing part of a super couple. The vets do this really well and it is no matter what is in the scene, you always have to play drawn together. So sometimes you get a scene where it doesn’t make sense for the couple, but you have to play against that. Whether it’s a look or the emotion behind the scene, the vulnerability behind it, the sexual tension or whatever it is. You always have to find something, layer that in. And at a certain point, if they stop writing a lot for the characters, you have to continue finding that if you want the couple to survive.

I think that got harder and harder as it went on and we were leaving and coming. I think their interest in writing Chad and Abigail gets harder and harder because they can’t plan for story. So for me, I’m just going how do I keep this thing alive?

TVSource: Was it hard coming to the show as a recast? Do you feel like you’ve fully solidified your Chad Dimera?

I don’t know if I put a ton of pressure on it in the beginning about playing a recast. I think for me, where I was at that stage of my life, I think I was more concerned with how the guy who used to play Chad was like 6’6” and a supermodel. I think I felt very insecure that he was better looking. I didn’t think about the character much. I don’t know if I had that kind of intellect to think that far outside the box. I think I was just nervous and doing my best.

I think the character solidified itself over time because I got more comfortable with who I was and what I wanted to bring to the character. There’s certain things to me that are super Chad Dimera now. I know that Chad was friends with Sonny and Will before I came on. But the way that they’re friends now and the love that they have, despite it being a gay couple and a straight man was something I feel like I did.

As I’ve grown and gotten more comfortable with myself, I think Chad has as well. I think I’ve solidified that in Chad. That character that swings from goofy to romantic to hero, to not afraid to be ugly or weird in a scene or weak in a scene. I think Chad’s done a good job and that’s the credit to a lot of the writing too. Maybe I’m biased or I just don’t have a wide knowledge of soap characters, but I think the male soap trope or whatever the word is, usually the guy has gotta be masculine and always the hero. I think I’ve always played Chad like the opposite, and that it’s okay to be uglier or not be ripped.

The next guy who plays Chad is gonna have to be really sexy and be a little bit goofy too.

TVSource: How would you best sum up Chad Dimera in a few words?

I think Chad is – I don’t know, like me. I think he’s imperfect and I think he’s doing his best just to get himself and his family through the day. That’s kind of the most that any of us can do.

I also think Chad leads with his heart and is kind of just unapologetically himself. Flaws and all.

TVSource: Fans are dying to know, what’s it been like being folded back into the WilSon world? How’s it been getting to work with a new Sonny, Zach Tinker? Will there really be a throuple?

I love Freddie [Smith] and all but Zach [Tinker] brings a whole different thing to Sonny. They’re just different people. Zach and I have a ton of fun. He’s a total weirdo. But he also takes his job seriously. The three of us – Billy, Chandler and Zach – always have a blast working together. I wish we did it more often other than when they’re asking Chad to do weird things like try to get into bed with Leo.

Now I’ve seen a lot about the throuple. Here’s my take on that. As somebody who plays Chad, I think it would ruin the friendship, right? Not every gay man wants to try to sleep with a straight man or something. I think the idea that you have this friendship, that is what it is, this straight man, two gay best friends. If you mix that up I don’t know. I guess my question would be, does that ruin the meaning of the friendship over the years? Does it muddle that?

Was Chad showing affection all those years because he had a secret that he was attracted to them? As opposed to just letting it be pure in what it is and what I think that we built, which is just a friendship with people who are just humans and aren’t afraid to show love or chemistry or whatever exactly.

I think Chad would die for Will or Sonny and – he certainly is willing to dress in drag and put himself in precarious situations for them every time. But I take it as a compliment. The fact that people want that for them just goes to show the chemistry that we have as actors. But in my opinion, I think it ruins a really interesting friendship.

TVSource: What’s it been like being a part of the Dimera resurgence? Do you wish Joe Mascolo could have been here to see it?

I think it’s amazing. Joe [Mascolo] was the biggest advocate for the Dimera family. He loved it, same with Thaao [Penglis]. Thaao also doesn’t get enough credit for his work. He was on the show even before Joe was.

I think it’s just a credit to them that they left such a legacy that we can continue to branch off more Dimeras.

But what makes the Dimeras is how they work together. If you’re gonna have a large number of Dimeras, at some point you gotta have them all come together. You have to bring together whoever Brandon Barash is playing at the time. Bring in Theo. He was always one of my favorites too. You look back and they were best friends when they were younger. I would like to see that kind of mentorship continue to grow.

TVSource: You’re so big in the DAYS community on Twitter. What’s your favorite part about getting to connect so closely to fans? How do you block out the hate?

To be on a soap as an actor is not easy. Everybody has talked about it over the years. It’s like you’re almost within the [acting] industry forgotten about, and it’s hard to feel like you’re part of that community. So to have such a strong community of fans makes you feel really at home, like you do have a place and you’re not just doing some weird story that nobody cares about. An actor’s job is to tell stories that move people one way or another and that’s what we’re doing. So to have such a strong community in the fans and seeing the interaction on Twitter and social media is a really nice reminder that we’re not just some old show that’s considered outside its own industry.

It’s a cool genre of storytelling and the fans are amazing. As far as the hate, I used to feel really overwhelmed. This was probably back before 2018, I made a lot of life changes in 2018, and I think it affected me more back then. I mean, now I can’t remember the last time I saw something that actually affected me. Everybody has their own opinions and they’re entitled to that.

Some fans of Ben and Ciarra don’t like this, and some fans of Chad and Abby don’t like Broe, to me they should just enjoy the show and enjoy that there’s multiple couples that they get to root for. But I don’t know. I think I spend a little less time on social media now than I used to as well. So I think that probably helps. I kind ofI dip my toe in to say hello and then I dip it right back out before it shifts.

I think when you realize, maybe this is just age, that people who are saying mean things to begin with, what are they going through that day? You know, what do they have going on that they need to go on and tell somebody that they’re an asshole. I find more compassion for people who talk weird on Twitter then it upsets me. Instead of going “I hate them” or allowing it to make me feel bad. I kind of just go, “oh man, that person’s having a rough day. I hope it gets better.”

TVSource: You’re kind of the digital spin off king having starred in all three so far. What’s it been like exploring Chad outside of daytime’s Salem?

It started with Chad and Abby in Paris. That was the first idea that was like, “oh, let’s see what happens outside of here.” The success of it gave birth to a lot of what you’re seeing now. On a show like DAYS where you have so many characters and actors that have played different characters over the years, that’s a lot of story arcs and multiverses you can explore. It’s fascinating, you know?

I had a blast with Chad and Abby in Paris, I thought it was a really cool experience. Beyond Salem had a lot more money behind it and it has NBC behind it. I think it’s just cool to see. Hopefully it is a way to find some new viewers and ultimately anything that can extend the life of the show is super positive.

TVSource: On top of acting, you also write and produce! How important is it to you to keep creative in multiple ways?

I think it’s really important. I mean, we move so fast and the show is such a machine. I think sometimes it’s hard to feel super creative. I think it has its ups and downs. Sometimes you’re able to feel very creative and some days you just do your best to kind of get through the day. I don’t think you should make anything your “end all be all.” With that said, I haven’t been writing much as of late, I’ve done a couple really cool little side projects, My wife wrote and produced a short film and I was in that and I have a friend named Tipper Newton, who’s done a couple of short films and I’ll just go and do that and I can make it work on my time off.

But I’ve found something more creative and a different type of fulfillment now. We bought a house about a year ago and I have been landscaping and doing that kind of stuff, which has been satisfying. So not even acting or writing or any of that stuff, just remodeling the kitchen and planting things in the yard feels weirdly creative to me lately. Maybe again it’s just me getting older.

TVSource: What can you tease about what’s to come for Chad?

Well, new beginnings.

I don’t know what can be printed yet. But there’s already some rumors out there. I think it’s gonna be fun to try to flex some acting chops. I feel like I haven’t had any really big scenes in a while. I think Chad is going to have some dark days but hopefully some light at the end of the tunnel.

It is actually the first time in a long time that I have felt almost insecure as an actor because it’s been so long I almost had to be like, “how do I do this again?” Because I’d done it before with a certain storyline.

I felt like there were two sides, one on good days when I thought the scenes went well, it was like, “Y’all must have forgotten, but I still got it!” Because I’ve just haven’t done much in the last couple years. Then other days I was like,man, why do you guys have to give me stuff so hard?”

I think with where they’re hopefully going with Chad, I think it’ll be a necessary change of pace.

Days of our Lives airs weekdays on NBC. Episodes are also available on Peacock TV

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