Eric Martsolf: Just last week in Portland someone asked me, “What state is Salem in”? It’s like you might as well have asked me, ”Where is Willy Wonka’s factory?” I don’t know! It’s a good question.
We Love Soaps: Sometimes it seems to be close to Chicago, sometimes New York.
Eric Martsolf: I think geography is pretty irrelevant as far as soaps. We have everything you need. We have clubs, we have baby switching, everything a society needs.
We Love Soaps: And lots of drugs! I want to ask you about that. Brady has been through a lot of therapy. He had a cocaine addiction. He’s in recovery though recently he’s been teetering. How is it for you to play someone with these struggles?
Eric Martsolf: It’s a ball. I’m having a lot of fun. Previously I played Ethan Winthrop on PASSIONS who was pretty much Dudley Do-Right. Ethan wouldn’t have even looked at a sliver of cocaine let alone snuffed it up his nose. Brady has these issues and these problems. Any actor will tell you that it’s the issues and the problems that make it worth while coming to work. That’s what you want. That’s the meat and potatoes of what we do. But I can’t relate to him in that sense. I’ve never had a drug problem. I’ve never been a fan of drugs. But I’m learning a lot. I’ve talked to people who’ve had these struggles and what they’ve gone through. It’s scary stuff. It’s not fun when you combine that with relationships issues and drug issues and being a member of the Kiriakis family.
We Love Soaps: And he’s a member of the DiMera family too.
Eric Martsolf: Yes. So you’re talking about a guy with multiple issues who just wants to follow the straight path but it’s really hard. He’s veering off lately. But I really like playing that. Initially Brady came to town just to make amends. When I was hired that was how it was described, “Brady is coming back to make amends with his family and friends.” I came back and had one sequence of scenes with Chloe where basically we forgave each other, we apologized, and then “see ya later, I’m going to Nicole’s house.” So here’s a guy who had a mission, he went to do it. And now we see him after a year getting kind of teed off and ticked off and having relationship issues and drug propensities.
We Love Soaps: It seems like going along with Nicole’s lie has gone against his recovery.
Eric Martsolf: And supporting it.
We Love Soaps: Have you ever gone to a 12-step meeting for research?
Eric Martsolf: Never been to a meeting, but I’ve talked to people who have been. I wanted the lowdown. It’s irresponsible for an actor [to get] into a scenario where you’re uneducated, when you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about or what you’re feeling. What I found is that there is a lot of pain, and a lot of desire to trust again. You end up not trusting yourself. Brady doesn’t trust himself to stay clean right now.
We Love Soaps: What are some of the differences between working on PASSIONS and working on DAYS?
Eric Martsolf: There’s no witches, no bleeding walls, no trips into Hell. Well, there are trips into hell it’s just not literally “Hell.” It’s figurative. Some of the faces are the same, but the story, the tone, is completely different. It’s apples and oranges.
We Love Soaps: They used to be mirrors of each other when James Reilly was writing both. Now they are very different.
Eric Martsolf: When James Reilly came up with Marlena’s demonic possession, that’s how PASSIONS was born basically. It brought DAYS up to a whole different level. People enjoyed it, and it gave PASSIONS a platform for many years. Say what you want about PASSIONS, but we had a heck of a following and there was a lot of ingenuity attached to it. It was a hard show to do because making some of that stuff even slightly believable was a job. When you have great writing it’s actually easy for an actor. When the writing is bad and you can bring some life into it, that’s a job. So I salute everyone who was affiliated with PASSIONS. I was proud to be part of it.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He has started blogging again at www.shouldless.com.