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Blake Berris Interview

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  • EmmyLoser
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    #426570

    An excellent interview of Blake Berris by Michael Fairman:
    http://michaelfairmansoaps.com/days-of-our-lives/the-blake-berris-interview-days-of-our-lives-2/2014/05/13/ 

    ——————————————————————————————

    There have been memorable performances throughout the decades in daytime soaps that have taken us by surprise, and made us feel, made us empathize, and made us hate.  And over the last year and half, Blake Berris (Nick Fallon) took the viewers of NBC’s Days of our Lives on a journey, and gave them a look at a complex young man with a tormented soul.  Berris had the ability and the acting chops to infuse Nick with so many nuances, and he delivered in scenes again, and again, and again.  We pitied Nick, despised Nick, and felt sorry for Nick all rolled into one, and to make an audience feel that is no easy task, my friends.

    On this past Friday’s episode of DAYS, Nick was murdered with countless suspects in Salem all who had reason to want the guy dead!  But before Nick bid farewell, Berris got one final heart-wrenching scene … and next Nick stumbled into Horton Town Square a bloody mess about to finger his murderer before passing out.  Many had been speculating for months that Nick would meet his maker, and that Blake Berris actually wrapped-up his time at the NBC soap several months back, and that is indeed true.

    On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Blake to talk about his decision to leave the show, what he thought of his final scenes, how he viewed where Nick’s relationships were left with the key people in his life who wanted him dead, and more!  In addition, when this year’s Daytime Emmy nominees were announced, Blake’s name was not among them.  Something that seems inconceivable given the depth of his submission and his work, and Blake candidly explains his reaction to that.  One thing is for certain, we all know the sky is the limit for Blake, but before he takes off, here is what he shared in our final DAYS interview together.

    MICHAEL:

    Let’s start with some of the chronology of your return to DAYS.   When the writers put Nick in the river, were you already leaving the show?  Or, was Nick’s “death” in the river written and then you renegotiated your deal to stay on longer than originally planned to finish the story which culminated in Nick’s actual murder?

    BLAKE:

    Courtesy/NBC

    That was all part of the plan.  I signed on to DAYS for a year and that would have been two Mays ago.  I came on and basically my story ended with the rape coming to light and the stuff on Smith Island.  I think that is why they originally brought me back on the show.  At that point, I got a call from Greg Meng (Co-executive producer, DAYS) and they seemed to be super happy with me.  They wanted to try to have me stay for as long as possible.  Coming back to the show in the first place was a surprise that I never quite expected.  I loved the storyline and the offer came at a good time, because I had a couple of films in the can and I was waiting for those to reach their audience.  Signing a four year contract did not make sense to me, but I felt like the story wasn’t quite over and there was a little bit more of a story to investigate, so I stayed on for six months after that.  And then they came up with all of the stuff at the river, and Nick’s “fake” death.  As it drew closer to the end of my contract, Lisa de Cazette (producer, DAYS) came up to me and said, “Are you sure you want to go?  Because it may be for good!”  It was a hard decision.  I was having an incredible time with the character and the cast, and I love the way they were writing it, but I do have a lot of aspirations outside of daytime, and I was like, “I got to go.”

    MICHAEL:

    So the big murder we just saw was part of your final six month deal, and the show cleverly knew they had gold in you as Nick, and so they crafted a May Sweeps story around his demise?  How does that sound?  (Laughs)

    BLAKE:

    (Laughs)  We were at point where they were knew they had to write me out in a few months and May sweeps was coming up.  So, the idea of killing me came up and that is when they came to me and said, “Are you triple sure you want to do this?”  And I said, “Do, what you gotta do!”

    Courtesy/NBC

    MICHAEL:

    Many DAYS fans are hoping that Nick’s twin, “Tick Fallon”, shows up out of nowhere!

    BLAKE:

    That would not be the craziest thing that has been done on DAYS. (Laughs)

    MICHAEL:

    The performance you gave on this past Friday’s episode was simply incredible.  Your work was so layered, and multi-faceted that you could not help in that moment feel for Nick, and it broke your heart.  I needed hankies.  How was playing those pivotal scenes with Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie)?  Were these scenes shot on your last tape day, or were they shot out of sequence?

    BLAKE:

    That started taping the morning, and the rest of the day was Nick bleeding, and then going to the morgue.  I think it was an all day, day for me.  I was last up. It was a day of dying.  I did not know Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie) that well.  We really have never had an opportunity to act with each other.  She is really an interesting person and we shared a lot with each other, along the acting coach on set, Maria O’Brien.  We had such interesting conversations and really connected.  I was really excited that we had that time before shooting all of that meaningful material together.  I value doing the scenes with her; it felt cool to go out with Susan, because she is an incredible icon and has such a legacy on the show.

    MICHAEL:

    So in his final minutes on earth, when Nick called Marlena (Deidre Hall) and left that voice message for her, was he actually reaching out for help?  Or, was it in some way a manipulation on his part?

    BLAKE:

    Courtesy/NBC

    The way I crafted it, was that dramatically what works best, is you realize what you have done before it’s too late.  Who knows how good Nick would have been at implementing those changes in his life?  A lot of people have an epiphany, but he had them before.   If there is a systemic problem and he does get treatment, maybe there is redemption for him.  But, I guess we will never know.

    MICHAEL:

    I also have to give you props for the way Nick died.   I believed every second of the guy getting hit by bullets! 

    BLAKE:

    I have not watched it.  I was talking with Maria, because the first shot happens from behind.  I wanted to play with him having no idea of what the f **k just happened.   If you did get shot, it would properly hurt a lot, because your body only knows how to process it because your brain tells you the information.  But if your brain doesn’t have that information, it would probably feel like something hit you.  It would be like a sharp pain, but you wouldn’t know what was happening. So that is what I was trying to play with – having this thing hit me and then trying to piece it together as it’s happening.   It’s really not till Nick sees the blood on his hand that I think the idea of he is about to die, or this existential threat of it, is processed for him.

    MICHAEL:

    The writers gave you a magnificent scene to go out with.  What was you reaction when you read the script and the scene between Nick and Julie?

    BLAKE:

    Courtesy/NBC

    I was glad they gave me a great scene at the end.  I remember thinking this is great writing.   I was excited to play it.  This was a character I loved, and I loved the idea of him going out with a bang, no pun intended, and having like a turn in his character before the eleventh hour. 

    MICHAEL:

    At the Horton Town Square, Nick tries to point to someone before he dies as his murderer! Did you know, or were you as the actor armed with the knowledge, of who he was pointing at? 

    BLAKE:

    Nick tries to point at the person, but the audience doesn’t know who it is, but Blake knows!  I demanded to know because I was like, “Who the hell am I looking at? (Laughs) I had to do a bit of detective work, but I figured it out.

    MICHAEL:

    When you found out who killed Nick, what was your reaction?

    BLAKE:

    My reaction is … that it is interesting.

    Courtesy/NBC

    MICHAEL:

    On Monday’s episode you had to lie there as a dead Nick, as these powerful moments were being played out from Nick’s love ones: Kristian Alfonso (Hope), Camila Banus (Gabi), Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie) and Suzanne Rogers (Maggie)! All of these women came to say goodbye to Nick!   What was that like having to lie there and be still with your eyes shut while all of these gut-wrenching moments were happening during the scenes?

    BLAKE:

    When Camila Banus, Kristian Alfonso, Susan Seaforth Hayes, and Suzanne Rogers come and have this incredible eulogy almost over me, they were the hardest scenes I ever had to film in my life!  I could not blink, or move for like three and a half minutes!  Plus, I had Kristian Alfonso over me giving this heart-wrenching and beautiful performance!  My eyes are closed.  I have no idea if the camera is on me, or not on me.  I am thinking I could twitch and ruin this entire beautiful take of Kristian Alfonso’s right now!  It was so hard.  I was holding my breath.  I wanted to swallow and I would have to sit there until they yelled, “All clear!”  It was torture and it was really tough.

    MICHAEL:

    Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

    Was it an emotional day for you when you filmed your final scenes and left the building for the last time?  Who was with you that day … and when did you actually wrap-up your run?

    BLAKE:

    It was right before the DAYS Christmas luncheon with the cast and crew.  I finished that Thursday and we had a big luncheon that Friday.  It was more emotional this time than it was for me the first time I left DAYS.  I think it’s because I was older and I was more aware of how life works now, and what an incredible family I had there.  I had a going-away party with friends, and my sister came down to L.A too.  Galen Gering (Rafe), Chrishell Stause (Jordan), Greg Vaughan (Eric) and Kate Mansi (Abigail) were there.  We had a proper night of a debauchery send-off. (Laughs)  I was ready to go, and it was an excited turning of the page for me.  This is what I want to do and that felt good, even though I am going to miss all of these people so much.

    MICHAEL:

    There has been such an outpouring of support and admiration from the soap community, the pundits, and the fans, that you really made a mark on soaps and on Days of our Lives.   Do you feel that you made impact portraying this character?

    BLAKE:

    Courtesy/NBC

    I hope so!  All I know is that I loved playing him a lot, especially this time around.  I felt really lucky to have a character as complex as he was.  One of the problems that I see sometimes in daytime is an overly simple moral universe that everyone lives in – where certain things are wrong and certain things are bad, and certain people aren’t good, and that is not interesting to me which is why I loved Nick Fallon.  A lot of people saw the character as bad, but I tend to view him as somebody who is in pain.  I tried to show as much vulnerability and goodness as there was in him, even though he was manipulative.  I thought it was a fascinating cool character, and was excited to make that contribution to the landscape of this show that has been going on for close to 50 years.  I guess the mark that I left is for other people to decide, but hopefully it was a little one.

    MICHAEL:

    Let’s kind of go around the horn and look at the people Nick threatened, or some of the main suspects in his murder.   I am interested to know your take on his relationships with some of these Salemites … starting with EJ DiMera (James Scott)!

    BLAKE:

    I think there was an alpha competitive side of Nick that just wanted to win when he was face to face with EJ. He just wanted to outsmart him and win.  That is why it is fun as an actor when you are trying to win the scene, and both actors are trying to do that.  It was so much fun to do those scenes with James, because I think he likes to do games of chess that way too within a scene.

    MICHAEL:

    Courtesy/NBC

    What was Nick’s end game … to be with Gabi and baby Ari?

    BLAKE:

    What I had crafted was that in Nick’s end game, he wanted something that was impossible, and to live with Gabi on an island with the baby with a white picket fence, and that wasn’t possible.  I am not even certain if Gabi understood him, either. I think he thought she did.  I think she was vulnerable enough that they related to each other in a number of ways, but ultimately I don’t think she was the soul mate he thought she was!

    MICHAEL:

    Gabi was setting him up!

    BLAKE:

    He definitely was unaware of if Gabi was double-crossing him.  I think Gabi was the one person who could fool Nick, because he wanted to believe she really loved him.  Nick definitely believed Gabi loved him.

    MICHAEL:

    Courtesy/NBC

    Now on to Will (Guy Wilson) and Sonny (Freddie Smith)!  These squeaky clean guys have “guilt” written all over their faces.   It would be nice if daytime did show an amoral gay person, or an aspect of a gay character that does bad things, like other characters on soaps.  

    BLAKE:

    And that is the real equity there if they are going to treat the characters with kit gloves in a way, because gay characters on daytime are so few and far between, there is such  pressure to make sure they are represented the “right way”.  I think that is catering to the people that think all gay people are amoral, so then it’s like “Oh, look!  Will and Sonny are very nice!”  I don’t know, but I would like to see the halos knocked off of those two!  (Laughs)

    MICHAEL:

    Me, too! (Laughs)  Did Nick really despise Will and Sonny?

    BLAKE:

    I don’t think he despised Will and Sonny.  I just think he saw them as in the way to what he wanted.  And everyone in town does love them and they have such halos on their heads, that it kind of added insult to injury for Nick!   He just couldn’t deal with it.

    MICHAEL:

    What did Nick feel about his relationship with Kate (Lauren Koslow)?

    BLAKE:

    Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photo

    I think Nick really liked Kate!  I think that was just the chess game that they played with each other.  I almost feel they enjoyed hating each other, and they were worthy adversaries and it gave them something to do.  I think sometimes when people hate on each other you become kind of dependent on that kind of a relationship, and you are almost sad when it’s gone.  It’s the theory of: Now that you don’t stand against anything, who are you?

    MICHAEL:

    Nick did not like Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) that is for sure!  She practically drowned him in the river!

    BLAKE:

    Nick felt Sami was the puppeteer on the other side of things along with EJ on the other side of the river, sort of speak.  When Alison and I did the scenes with each other in the river, we almost found this perverse attraction that Nick and Sami had to each other, or something.  Sami was making Nick’s life a living hell by puppeteering the whole thing.

    MICHAEL:

    And in the end, what did Nick think about Abigail (Kate Mansi)?  He called her a “whore” for having her liaisons with EJ!

    BLAKE:

    Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

    Those were really hard scenes, because I really love working with Kate Mansi.  She is fantastic.  Nick was so heartless and merciless with the way he was torturing her.  There was stuff that came out where he felt Abigail and Will were treated in a certain way, and Nick never was going to measure up to their sense of goodness, that each of them had.  I think that he was sick of the idea that everyone in town is chock full of transgressions and yet, he is the one seen as the bad guy.  This person over there is cheating and lying and so this sounds very hypocritical, and I would have to agree with him! (Laughs)

    MICHAEL:

    You are not going to be coming back in pre-taped scenes as “Ghost Nick” now, are you?   What about in scenes re-creating Nick’s death?

    BLAKE:

    No.  I have no ghost work and/or re-creating of death scenes, and I have no idea what happens next in the story.

    MICHAEL:

    Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

    Fans and experts were shocked when you were not nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category for your performance.  Everyone has been talking that you were the most glaring omission from all the lists.  You must have been disappointed.  What episode did you submit?

    BLAKE:

    It was disappointing.  I chose the episode where Nick admits to being raped to Gabi.  I have been around the block a few times with these things, and I felt like I knew what people responded to.  I knew I had to submit that episode, because it was the climax of that storyline. 

    MICHAEL:

    Would you submit again next year after your sensational performance from Friday’s episode?  I think you should consider it.

    BLAKE:

    I guess so.   I haven’t watch the one from this past Friday, but like right now, I am like “Who cares?”  But maybe by next year I will throw my hat in the ring.

    MICHAEL:

    Do you think Nick’s mother’s mental illness (Jessica had Dissociative Identity Disorder) weighed-on him?  Do you think he did have some true imbalance in his brain? 

    BLAKE:

    Courtesy/Budweiser

    I really do!   I think he did have a chemical imbalance that went unexplored.  I would not be surprised if he was bipolar.

    MICHAEL:

    Now that you are pursuing your career opportunities elsewhere, is it motion pictures where you hope to be seen the most?  Is an Oscar in your future?

    BLAKE:

    I want to do television, as well.  I watch a lot of cable TV and not so much network TV. Right now, I am watching House of Cards, and I love most things on HBO.   I think the coolest set I was ever on was the set of Breaking Bad!   I loved how much they indulged in every decision that they made, and how thought out every thing was.  It was great to be on that set for the small part I played on that show.  I would love to do something like that in a more major role.  Writing and producing has also become a big part of my life.   I just got hired to write a Lifetime movie!  And a different film that I wrote is supposed to go into production next year.  So we have a bunch of investors now, and are hiring a casting director, and looking at all sorts of actors and assembling a cast.  I have been writing as a kid and studied playwriting in college.  So, this is fun. 

    MICHAEL:

    In closing, and I can’t believe this is our final Nick Fallon/DAYS interview together, what you like to say to the fans that have supported you throughout your run and enjoyed your performances, as one of the most complex characters ever seen in the world of daytime drama?

    BLAKE:

    Courtesy/Flickr

    I have never had an experience like that, and it’s my only experience playing a character for this long a time like I did Nick Fallon.  It’s been amazing, especially with the world of Twitter and how now it’s such an interactive environment, and to hear from people who are affected by the work that you do and support you.  There is this one woman named Diana Rogers.  She wrote one of the most beautiful and eloquent letters on a blog post as to why she related to my character and why it was important within the spectrum of the show.  It was really moving.  It’s all you could hope for the work you do, which is to affect people and make them think.  And with a character like Nick, I hope it does challenge people to look at people who are troubled in a different way.   I was looking at some tweets and some are supportive, but then you get a few that are like, “Can’t wait to see Nick die!” You know, it’s not like a celebratory thing in any facet of the world when a life is taken.   I do encourage people to question that impulse in themselves, if that is your reaction to a character.  But I get it is different on a television show, because it’s not a real person.  But by in large, people are really cool.  I thank each and every fan for watching the show, and especially ones who may have identified with Nick, or got enjoyment watching the small part of the story I got to tell. 

    Reply
    Allan
    Participant
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    #426572

    Great- and that’s not even a strong enough word for it – interview. if Blake doesn’t submit next year, please let me fill out the paperwork for him. And kudos to the writers for using Julie’s history and the fabulous Susan Seaforth Hayes in these scenes with Berris.

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    FreemanGriffin
    Participant
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    #426573

    That was a great interview! Thanks for sharing it! (:

    Too bad he won’t be winning an Emmy in June; hope he submits last Friday’s episode for next year! (:

    I will miss Blake Berris – I would have loved for them to have crafted a redemption story for Nick ):

    Wow, they taped those scenes almost 6 months ago!

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    EmmyLoser
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    Nov 12th, 2010
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    #426574

    Yes, I enjoyed this interview tremendously.  Blake has such a great understanding of character and the relationships these people had with one another, which is part of the reason why he plays this role so well.  I also really really really hope he submits next year.  He’s been the best supporting actor in soaps for a year and a half now, and dammit, he should have the Emmy to back that up.

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    Djoko
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    #426575

    Like I’ve said before too much crying in tapes really turns off Emmy voters (It turned me off). Also, I’m pretty sure Gabi is the killer because it would make the most sense and be shocking to a lot of people.

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    eastwest
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    #426576

    I don’t know how to say this w/o catching hell, but here it goes. How Eric Martsolf got in with his episode when Blake had the episode he went with is upsetting. The 12 y/o “Passions” fan in me did a little jig when reading that on nomination morning, but after that set in, I’m like BOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I knew Blake had it when I first saw him as dorky Nick years ago. His casting was suchh a breath of fresh air for a show known for the pretty. Wishing him all the best in his future.

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