Thursday, February 20, 2014

INTERVIEW: Guy Wilson on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Having Patience as a Young Actor, and the San Francisco 49ers

Guy Wilson
Guy Wilson appeared in primetime hits like NCIS, BREAKING BAD and CASTLE before making his debut in the role of Will Horton on NBC daytime drama DAYS OF OUR LIVES six weeks ago.  On Thursday, We Love Soaps spoke with the actor, who shared his thoughts on landing the role of Will, working opposite Freddie Smith, and the recently completed NFL season. Read our interview below.

WE LOVE SOAPS: In your own words, tell us about your acting career pre-DAYS and take us up to when you got the audition for Will?
GUY WILSON: Sure. I think the terms that comes to mind whenever I talk to younger actors, who might be thinking about moving out to LA, are patience, and faith. It really doesn't happen instantly, or, it didn't, not in my experience.

You know, I had already been in LA for a number of years, flogging away, and eventually one brick falls, and another brick falls, and then all of a sudden you find yourself getting a lot of auditions. My experience with DAYS was that I had first auditioned with the show a number of years ago, and didn't book, and kept coming back for different parts, and didn't book. And so, when this opportunity finally arose, I definitely knew that I was ready for it.

In my case, it took a lot of growing up on my part to get to the point where I could take over a role, and a storyline, like this.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Sometimes an actor who's been on a soap for years and years will answer that question for me by saying, “Well, it was pretty much my first audition, and now I've been here twenty years.” But that doesn't happen anymore, does it?
GUY WILSON: No! [He laughs.] I feel like the golden age for actors to get work seems to have passed, at least from what I hear. I know, you know, it's not easy out there, in this day in age, with not that many things getting made, and there's just a lot of competition.

The bottom line is that there's just a lot of good actors out there. It's not that so-and-so isn't good enough, but that so many good people are qualified, and that's what makes it tough. That's my experience.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Tell me about the audition process for Will Horton?
GUY WILSON: Umm... it happened quickly. You know, sometimes, certain jobs of this scale, parts this large, they take awhile. They can take a while, anyway. The casting process for this, for me, was quick.

I went in early in the week and did a session with the casting director, and then shortly thereafter I did a session with the executive producer, Greg Meng, and sat down, and spoke with him a bit. Then I was given some new material to prepare and was told that I was going to be doing a screen test. And then, they later told me it was going to be with Freddie.

So I did a work session for the screen test with casting, and with one of the show's directors, and then I did the screen test with Freddie. Which was a little nerve-wracking. [He laughs.] Because, you know, I knew Freddie before, but it was my first time with him on set, with the lights and the cameras... really we were just thrown right into it. And the rest is history. [He laughs.]

Freddie Smith and Guy Wilson. Photo Credit: NBC
WE LOVE SOAPS: How has that, for lack of a better word, chemistry, or, that working relationship, evolved? It's been what, more than three months...
GUY WILSON: Yeah, we started shooting together back in September so we've been working together for... five months. So I think it's really evolved, and blossomed, in a wonderful way. Such that I couldn't be happier.

The eagerness on his part, since the very beginning, to take the storyline to its next level—it's a storyline a lot of people really respond to—and Freddie is no different. So as soon as I got on board, we got together, and we got lunch, and hung out for a few days before we started working. I think we were on a hiatus week, that first week after I was hired.

It was funny, I was hired and then I didn't get to go and do my job. I was just, waiting. [He laughs.] I was biting my fingernails; couldn't wait to hit the set. But it gave Freddie and myself a chance to connect and get caught up on more of the nuances of the relationship. I had plenty of time to get caught up on story history, but in the medium of daytime drama, it's the relationships that bring the stories to life. And Freddie has been indispensable in getting me up to speed, and sharing what he's discovered, from working with Chandler, and on his own, as his own artist.

WE LOVE SOAPS: When you first come on the scene it must seem like there's so much back story. What kind of research did you do for Will?
GUY WILSON: When I first came on I was blessedly provided with sort of like, a story Bible for the Will Horton character, dating back to the character's inception. Some parts were broad strokes, and some were more detailed. I did my best to ingest it, but once we started working, I gave myself permission to focus on one thing at a time. So let's say I have a scene with Alison Sweeney, with Sami. For that week, leading up to it, I would just really sort of focus on that. Then, depending on where it was going, dip into the peripheral aspects of the story.

I would do that in the early goings and it helped spin or weave this web, so I could get caught up on how everything, the different pieces of it, got put together. But in the beginning, there's just simply so much story history, I don't know that I could have put it all together in one fell swoop, but it' been a process of discovery. Which has been fun, and exciting, to go about it that way.

WE LOVE SOAPS: I often find that actors, especially guys, fantasize about or aspire to play one of the bad guys. Assuming the idea of playing a villain appeals to you, do you think the Will character has it in him, to be a baddy?
GUY WILSON: The way I fantasize about Will's evolution is I think now, he's a father, he has his very important relationship, and I see him as someone who does have a lot to lose. I think that individuals, when they have something to lose, they maybe become willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what they care about.

So, I wouldn't want Will to become a villain, but, I think it would be fun if he grows into a powerful character... who's willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what's his. So, maybe I don't want him to be evil, but for him to be feared, that would be a lot of fun. If he, sort of, “ascends to a position of harsh leadership.” That's kind of how I like to imagine it.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Last question, Guy, I see you tweeting about the 49ers, we're almost out of time, but I thought maybe we could close with some of your thoughts on the past season?
GUY WILSON: I was frustrated. And disappointed. I knew, in my heart of hearts, that that game was the Super Bowl. I knew the 49ers and the Seahawks were the two best teams in the NFL. I'm frustrated that it wasn't us, I mean, I think we are the best team, but you can't argue with the box score. So, I look forward to next season. I have plenty of trash talking to do with my Seattle-based friends, so I have a few months now to deal with that.

Kevin Mulcahy Jr. is a Harvard alum who is currently working as a staff contributor at writing theater and web series reviews as well as other in-depth features. He is also Director of the non-profit Indie Series Network.  Read his reviews, features and interviews here. To contact Kevin, email [email protected].


  1. Great interview. Very informative and interesting answers from Guy. He is doing a fantastic job in his portrayal of Will Horton and he and Freddie seem to have amazing chemistry together. I am excited to see how the future of WilSon plays out.

  2. Yeah me not so much still think his acting lacks something

  3. I'm still getting used to Guy as Will (really liked Chandler) and Sonny is cool. Just not "feeling" the relationship between Will and Sonny.