Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day of 'Days' Interview: Thaao Penghlis on Gaining Wisdom and Adding a Sense of Maturity to His Acting

Thaao Penghlis at the Day of Days event on November 14, 2015. Photo Credit: Jessica Weisel
The annual "Day of Days" event was held on Saturday, November 14 at Universal Citywalk. Mandy Lynn Denaux covered the event for Serial Scoop and chatted with the cast of Days of our Lives about the 50th anniversary of the iconic soap opera, and much more. Thaao Penghlis–who plays Andre DiMera–discussed his latest return to Days, having a sense of maturity, and what it would like to play Stefano.

Read our interview below. Find out what happens when Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera) interrupts the discussion.

SERIAL SCOOP: So I know you can’t talk about future storyline...
THAAO PENGHLIS: [Slyly] Try me!

SERIAL SCOOP: If you could summarize what Andre has been up to the last four to six months, what word would that be?
THAAO PENGHLIS: Histrionic.

SERIAL SCOOP: You've been on the show before and you are back again. How would you describe your experience now as compared to then?
THAAO PENGHLIS: With my age and longevity comes wisdom. I do things more understated. I'm also in touch with my humor because you get to those layers that are real rather than superficial. All of those feelings are there to explore from that aspect but you have to get there. So, I can get to my tears if I want to, my humor if I want to, to my drama if I want to, only because I have had a sense of maturity over the years since my parents died–those life changing things. And they affect you honestly and you have to go and express yourself at this stage in your life so every time I have gone back there has been a huge journey that I have taken that has changed the outlook of the character I play.

SERIAL SCOOP: You've played two characters on Days [Tony and Andre]. If you had the opportunity to play another character, regardless of age or gender, who would you want to play?
THAAO PENGHLIS: Stefano, I think. because he is sitting there on a throne, his throne. It’s having it all. Those types of powerful men, who have reached a certain exploration that brings about a certain gravitas, that brings up certain feelings-fear imposed if they want to. Comfortable. Being able to see and be able to leave yourself alone and see how the thoughts of others are expressed, and how to use those thoughts against others. Like you see in politics, it's a political part really. The trouble is you also want people to challenge so you could see how much pity you can play. It's not always there because somebody does not have the same reputation in the community you do; somebody young so they don’t know yet. So Joe [Mascolo, who plays Stefano] is the only one.

I love Kate, the character of Kate. Kristian Alfonso, Deidre Hall. They are all very close, much more than the guys. He and I get along very well (points to Billy Flynn).

SERIAL SCOOP: You are very active on social media. How has it changed the experience?
THAAO PENGHLIS: I wasn’t on social media when I left in 2009 so this is all different. It is amazing how people give you daily approval–criticism and occasionally the nasty dig–the one who wouldn't give an accolade if you were the only one alive. I think in many ways it is not being afraid to let people see you; it's like taking your clothes off. It's a great experience to able to be succinct in two sentences on Twitter. I find that to be as a writer to be challenging.

Facebook gave me opportunities to share with the world my journeys with what I have discovered in far places, especially those places that have been on fire–danger zones. I have been to Egypt 12 times and Cuba 11 times, Jordan, Israel, Morocco. I love those areas. It is very selfish in a way when you take these journeys because a lot of people when they come back from these journeys and they you ask, “How was your journey?” They say, “Oh if I see one more bloody Church, I am going to scream.” And I go, “Are you kidding me?” I climb that mountain. Take the time to see what it is like up there. It's really a part of my life or I feel like I did that before.

It's a fun platform to exchange ideas, and people are starving for information and starving for visuals-things that take them somewhere...euphoria-so I can do that for people who are not able to do it because of physical limitations, or just because they’re scared. I find a lot of people are scared. I mean my
family won’t go to the Middle East with me.

BILLY FLYNN: [Interrupting] Alright!
THAAO PENGHLIS: You cut me off.
BILLY FLYNN: I didn’t cut you off!
THAAO PENGHLIS: You ]hits hand on table] said it’s over! [Billy grabs his nose] It’s like we are real brothers. Do you see what I have to deal with everyday?! I have to pretend that I like him.
BILLY FLYNN: Oh, life is so hard!”
THAAO PENGHLIS: It was lovely meeting you. I am sorry we were so rudely interrupted.
BILLY FLYNN: I wasn’t interrupting. I was just putting my hand on your shoulder.” [Puts his hand on Thaao's shoulder again]
THAAO PENGHLIS: Concentrate!

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