Best known for their roles as Nicole Walker and Brady Black on Days of Our Lives, we sat down with Arianne Zucker and Eric Martsolf before they attended this year’s Corus Upfront to chat about their experience working together, as well as on various other projects.
Q&A with Arianne Zucker
Q: What was most exciting about returning to Days of Our Lives after your character Nicole was presumed dead?
Arianne: Just the family aspect, it’s just an easy place to go to and it doesn’t feel like work. I can basically do it in my sleep and I mean that in the most positive light. I find so much joy being there. I do love it and that was probably the biggest thing that I missed.
Q: Were there any challenging aspects of returning to Days of Our Lives as a character that was ‘brought back from the dead’?
Arianne: There was in terms of coming back to the show. I did want to know how the producers saw Nicole coming back and if they saw her with any kinds of post issues from being in a traumatic situation. And they were like nope just come back, just come back as Nicole would sort of react to things. And then we had that big reveal happen, so I didn’t know…which was exciting. It ended up being super challenging but it’s easy for me to transition to be completely emotional. That was the hardest thing, figuring out how she was coming back emotionally.
Rapid Fire Round
If you could have any three people over for dinner (dead or alive) – who would they be?: Marliyn Monroe, my grandmother and Woody Woodpecker
Favourite TV show: Lost in Space
Favourite Movie: Anything with Mel Brooks
Last song that was stuck in your head: “Me” by Taylor Swift
Biggest pet peeve: People who don’t brush their teeth
Impressions: I’m more of a movie quoter – “We’re men, we’re men in tights. TIGHT tights”
Q&A with Eric Martsolf
Eric: Besides Brady Black it would have to be Booster Gold from the Smallville series because I got to fly. I got to show Clark Kent how to be Superman and it was just cool. I got a lot of credit with my kids because at the age that they were at, they truly believed that I could shoot lasers out of my wrists and if they misbehaved they thought I was going to shoot a laser at them. That role has just given me a lot back.
Q: You’ve been named the host for Dummies: The Podcast. Do you have a favourite For Dummies book?
Eric: Math for Dummies. I really relied on Math for Dummies back in the day because I was terrible at math so I thought that book would help me out and it did, it really really did. It’s a great way to break it down in a non intimidating way so I appreciate those book series and I look forward to doing the podcasts as well.
This or That?
Phone call or Text: Phone call – let’s talk
Invisibility or Super Strength: Invisibility
Movie at home or Movie at the theatre?: Movie at home
Burgers or Tacos: Burgers
Winter or Summer: Summer
Dog or Cat: Dog
Day or Night: Night
Being too warm or Being too cold: Being too cold
Watch or Play sports: Play sports
Boat or Plane: Boat
Q&A with Arianne Zucker and Eric Martsolf
Q: Both your characters have a history with each other. What other story line would you like to see happen?
Arianne: They always put us together. If our relationships go sour elsewhere, they’ll put us together.
Eric: We’re each other’s comforting pillows to one another. When we have issues outside of our selves we come together and lean on one another.
Arianne: Yes, they have an incredible solid friendship. It’s almost as if we have done wrong in the past, the other does not judge. It always comes full circle and these characters really do love each other. They end up not putting us together and probably for a good reason.
Eric: They don’t want to ruin their friendship with romanticism. You know, people on soaps tend to make mistakes and stray once in a while. I would like to see them revisit Brady and Nicole a little bit. That’s what a relationship should be based on in the first place and they should start as friends. And too often in soaps we make relationships go too quick and we bump into one another and there’s an instant connection and I don’t know if that’s realistic. And nothing’s more realistic then to watch things grow and cultivate and their relationship is definitely one that’s grown over the years and deserves to be brought up.
Q: How were your roles in Ladies of the Lake: Return to Avalon different from your roles in Days of Our Lives?
Arianne: It’s funny, the first one I didn’t get to act much with my costars from Days and then the second one I worked a good amount with more General Hospital characters that came on the show. And it’s always good to be able to work with your coworkers in a different light and a different element but there’s also such a comfort. When you’re not working with somebody new you have an idea of what you’re going to get from that person. Which is always refreshing and makes it easier to go to work. Sometimes when you’re working with new actors, you don’t know their speed, or if they like to run lines, or how they operate. Which means finding that connection is a lot harder.
Eric: And day time actors tend to find projects they can do among themselves because they never have to question the work ethic. They always know they’re going to know their lines, they always know they’re going to be on their game and you become such an intimate family. We know each other well – I know the dogs that my costars have, I know their kids, I know their favourite hobbies. It’s lovely to have that kind of intimacy.
Q: What is something fans would be surprised to learn about you?
Arianne: We’re quirky, funny and fun.
Eric: So often soaps are so tumultuous and serious and we could not be more opposite from that disposition. We just have a little too much fun, you would never guess. I think the reason I never get recognized is because I’m smiling most of the time. And people are probably like, “that looks like Brady Black but he’s smiling”. Our producers were trying to pair us up on the show and I had just come to the canvas as Brady Black and they were looking at our chemistry and they wanted us to be very awkward around one another and they just had to cut the middle of the scene and say, “um guys, could we have a little less Eric and Ari and a little more Brady and Nicole. We need you to be more awkward, you’re a little too comfortable around each other, you’re having a little too much fun”.
Q: If you weren’t in the entertainment industry, what would you be doing instead?
Eric: I went to school to be a lawyer, I got a degree in political science so my plan was just to act for a little while, temporarily get it out of my system and go have a real job. I never pursued law again and I don’t have a backup plan and think that’s part of the reason why I’ve been successful because I don’t have anything to lean back on. I need to be an actor and I want to be an actor and that’s it, that’s the deal. And I’ll do that in any capacity I have to. And I’ve been blessed with this day time job for so long. So there’s no safety net for this guy. I’m all about it because you really have to love it. I’m sure you’ve heard that the rejection you get in this industry is crazy. So when you get a job like Days of Our Lives, you hold on to that.
Arianne: I wanted to be a veterinarian for large animals. Mostly horses because I grew up riding and I just loved it. So when I got on the show it was not what I wanted to do (I’m sure a lot of the actors want to smack me). I was just saving money to go to vet school and taking all my pre-vet courses and I got this job. I thought, what do I do because I can’t go to my labs and do the soap opera at the same time – better pick one. So I said alright I’ll do this for three years and save my money and then move on and go to vet school. I’m still waiting and I’m still saving my money.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Arianne: My big brother has always been one of my biggest fans and also such a great guy in my life. And he always told me to remain who I am which is his little sister. As he tells me, I have a ton of love in my heart so he told me to always keep that with me and don’t change. Especially in this business it’s so easy to change. It’s important to stay true to yourself.
Eric: My dad gave me some advice about jobs and working. And when I was going through that indecision on whether to pursue acting or go to law school he just said, “Eric, if you look forward to Monday morning – stick with that”. So many people dread going to work Monday morning and I have never dreaded a Monday morning since being on this show.
Arianne: What about Tuesday?
Eric: Tuesday sucks.