Eric Martsolf burst onto the soap scene in 2002 when he took over the role of Ethan Winthrop on PASSIONS. In 2010 he joined the cast of indie soap MISS BEHAVE as Marcus Dunne. Since November 2008 he has portrayed Brady Black on DAYS OF OUR LIVES.
In this exclusive new interview with WE LOVE SOAPS TV, Martsolf talks about working at DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Brady's relationships with his father, John, and leading ladies Nicole and Madison. He also shares his thoughts on the one and only Dolly Parton!
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: As an actor, what is the most challenging thing for you with playing Brady?
Eric Martsolf: Where do I start? It's been challenging to dig into this guy's dark side, for lack of a better phrase. He's really done a 180 from the portrayal of Brady from the past couple of years.
I've enjoyed it but at the same time, you tend to go home after doing some of these things on camera, and the ride home is a little longer than usual because it's hard to break out of that darkness you portray on screen.
Sometimes I'll walk through the door and my wife will just take a look at my face and say, "What the hell is wrong with you?" And I just look back and say, "Nothing. I just beat someone to a bloody pulp, and played an alcoholic for a couple of hours. But I'm good!"
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: We've always enjoyed your work on PASSIONS and DAYS, but this past year in particular there's been new depth in your performances. How do you hone your craft as an actor? Do you take classes? Is it just being really prepared every day?
Eric Martsolf: Well, not to wave my own flag, but my work ethic has always been intact. I pride myself on getting it done quickly, getting it done right, and not wasting time, because time is precious right now in our business.
I feel like I have grown a lot and I think that's just reflected in the work and that's a result of surrounding yourself with strong people. DAYS OF OUR LIVES has done a great job in recruiting actors from our genre that are strong. When you're around strong people you simply become a manifestation of everyone around you. So that's always a wonderful thing when you have a great community around you that cares about the work as much as you do.
But thank you for saying that. I do appreciate it. My mother shares your sentiments. She called the other day and said, "Eric, you're actually really good." I was like, "Thanks Mom, I appreciate that after 10 years."
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Speaking of people on the canvas, Drake Hogestyn is back as John later this month. How will John being in Salem impact Brady's life.
Eric Martsolf: Well, with John Black usually comes drama. Without giving away too much storyline, he definitely comes in with a bang. It doesn't take long for John to stir things up around Salem. Brady's initial reaction to his father is very interesting. Drake and I sat down and had a discussion about it and it really wasn't what we were expecting. It's not all bubblegum and roses for this father and son.
There is some resentment and John Black has definitely been informed about Brady's actions and behaviors around town the past couple of years. He's not oblivious to what Brady has done. And not all of it is what a father would be proud to hear. There is some tension between the two men. It's not what you expect.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What can you tell us about Brady's interaction with Sarah Brown's character, Madison?
Eric Martsolf: Madison James. This chick comes in in a way I don't think we've ever seen before. She's just a pillar of strength. I think the character and actress are beautifully fit together. This is the first character creation for our new writing team, Marlene [McPherson] and Darrell [Ray Thomas, Jr], and they really wanted to bring in a woman who was really strong and powerful. Sarah was just the right woman to bring this character to life.
Brady is an addict, he loves power, he loves women, and he's willing to do almost anything he can to get it. When this girl come into town, she catches the boy's eye. He hits her pretty hard. [Laughs] Not hits her hard like hitting E.J. hard.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You have to clarify that these days!
Eric Martsolf: It's a strong connection. I was just texting Sarah the other day and I sent her a text just saying, "Thank you. I just want to thank you for being on top of it." It goes back to work ethic. She knew exactly what she wanted this character to wear, how to be, how to portray herself. There was just no doubt in her mind. And with that comes a compelling character when you do your homework like that. And she's brought it.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How is the dynamic between Brady and Madison different from Brady and Nicole?
Eric Martsolf: Well, Brady and Nicole have always been tumultuous to say the least. They've usually consistently brought out some of the less attractive qualities of each other. They love to drink, they love to have sex, but they usually have a tough time making a commitment to each other. Especially in Nicole's case, she just keeps going back to the mafia-oriented man we know as E.J.
The difference is Madison and Brady truly seem to just have eyes for each other. They are just completely invested in each other professionally, and possibly romantically.
So many times soap just have people bump into each other on the pier and their magically attracted to each other. But in this case it's just pure chemistry these guys have. It's really fun to watch and fun to play.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I think on the pier you can fall in love or get shot. [Laughs]
Eric Martsolf: I don't know if you're aware of this, but we used to have what we called the "bad pier" and the "good pier". We literally would be called to set, "Okay, we're shooting on the good pier today." because that's where good things happened. And the bad pier wa where bad things happen. Now we only have one pier and you never know what's going to happen. You'll usually get shot or make love. [Laughs]
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What is the best advice anyone at DAYS ever gave you?
Eric Martsolf: There's been a lot. I was talking with Maria O'Brien, one of our script supervisors, who's gracious enough to help everyone with their lines in the morning. She told me one day, "Make sure what you don't say is just as important as what you say." Many times actors get disgruntled because they don't have enough lines and want something to say. The bottom line is you can speak volumes by saying nothing. Just because you're not saying anything on camera doesn't mean you're not present and can't be interactive in a scene. I think that's important.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What is the most fun you've had at a non-acting job?
Eric Martsolf: I was going to say Booster Gold on SMALLVILLE but you said non-acting.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did you work at Dollywood?
Eric Martsolf: That's considered acting isn't it?
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I'm from Tennessee originally and I love Dollywood.
Eric Martsolf: Hell, let's talk about Dollywood!
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You rose in my esteem so much by having that on your resume! [Laughs]
Eric Martsolf: You know actors sometimes trim their resumes, but I'm never taking that thing off. Dolly Parton was one of the most interesting people that I've ever worked with. She's a superstar but is more grounded than anyone I've ever met. The first thing she ever asked me when we met was, "Do you know where the bathroom is?" In her own theater!. She's just a little sweetheart, a country girl who made it.
I was supposed to be there three months and I ended up staying there for three years. So heck yeah, let's say that Dollywood was my most fun job in that aspect. Those Southerners down there know how to party and I was happy to be a part of it.
Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps and is currently a producer on THE BAY and executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.