Tuesday, August 26, 2014

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Patsy Pease Remembers Kimberly Brady 30 Years After Joining 'Days of our Lives' (Part 3)

Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Serial Scoop recently caught up with actress Patsy Pease to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of her debut as Kimberly Brady on NBC daytime drama Days of Our Lives. In Part 1 she spoke about her first days on the soap and what made Kim and Shane's relationship so special. In Part 2 below, Pease shared her thoughts on the controversial Shane (Charles Shaughnessy) and Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) relationship, lost storyline opportunities, and the women who came along over the years to face off with Kimberly. In Part 3 below, she clears up why she left Days of our Lives, reveals what she's learned about herself by being a mother, and offers her take on Kim and Shane's 2010 reunion.

SERIAL SCOOP: Can you explain what led to your departure from Days of our Lives in the middle of Kimberly’s multiple personality storyline?
PATSY PEASE: I would love to clear it up. I had given birth to a child that had congenital birth defects and would need several surgeries. I was going to try to do the impossible, go to work and play a storyline with three personalities while getting calls from the emergency room, “Your son has stopped breathing, and he’s turned blue.”  I didn't have the kind of job where I could have somebody come and take my place so I could go see how my child was. My job didn’t allow for that.

I finally took a really good honest look at the situation.  That particular job had to run that way for a reason.  They had a one hour show to get out in one day, and had to do whatever they had to do to get that job done.  I respected the hell out of that. Nobody was a victim and nobody was a bad guy. I don’t believe in that.  But the reality was that my job had to be done so I had to ask myself, “Will my situation allow me to do it?"  I had a life that was nothing but emergencies, a son that I didn’t know if he was going to breathe tomorrow morning. He was in tubes and hospitals and it was a nightmare the first year. I honestly didn’t think he was going to make it. I didn’t know. You try to go to work and do your job with that? It eats away at you.

So I finally had to realize that I was going to have to make a choice. I had a job that needed and deserved 100% of my energy and attention, and I couldn’t do that so I left to take care of a son that had surgeries, 1 each year for 15 years. So that was the future that was carved out for us.

I don’t say that I regret any of it because I learned so much. I met people and got to do things that I didn’t think I could do. I was thrust so far out of my comfort zone that I found I had a bigger ability to love than I gave myself credit for, and I didn’t know I had that. So would I trade that? Nope. I put my son in karate when he was 5. He went to class in between casts and splints and eye patches and surgeries on his hands and his legs and his feet for 7 years.  By the time he was 13 he got a black belt.

SERIAL SCOOP: That's phenomenal.
PATSY PEASE:  It was. And it taught me about showing up and not giving a rats ass about what other people think. Just showing up and being there, my presence was more than enough. He wasn’t self-conscious about any of that. Now I’ve lived my whole life as an actress self-conscious about a bad hair day. And here is my kid brave enough to go on with crutches in a gee and have a good time, have his classmates sign his cast, and use his crutches to bat his friends around. [Laughs] There was nothing self-conscious about it. It was embracing differences and connecting with people because of them.

SERIAL SCOOP: The lessons you learned from being there for him and witnessing his accomplishments must have been life changing.
PATSY PEASE: If I hadn’t witnessed that...  I firmly believe words don’t teach, experience does. I needed to experience what that felt like for somebody to show up and feel so secure in their own skin,and know there wasn't anything to be ashamed of. Honestly, he didn’t think anything of it. And all my old tapes in my head about having to look this way in public or people will think this, or people wont accept you if you’re different, all of those old tapes were completely annihilated and challenged. He proved me wrong!

SERIAL SCOOP: It's beautiful. It exemplifies the love between a mother and her son.
PATSY PEASE: It really does.  It was horrendously beautiful, and it was treacherously perfect. It was messy beyond belief. There was nothing that was neat to tie into pink little ribbons about. It was just as messy and wonderful as life really is. And I got to embrace the perfect imperfection of life.

SERIAL SCOOP: When we grow up we imagine what we think life is supposed to be and don't realize the beauty is the opposite of what we think “perfect” is.
PATSY PEASE: Absolutely. Yes. I always came up with ideas that it was a Hallmark card or a Lifetime movie. And mothers look like this, and dads look like that. And then you had dreams of what all your kids should like too, and what your kids would be doing when they were three, and watching them walk. All that was blown out the window.  And Thank God it was. Thank God it was. There was so much laughter.  My son and I joke about stuff with the sickest sense of humor. We have surgical humor. [Laughs] We’ve had to learn to laugh at life and death situations.

SERIAL SCOOP: It put everything in perspective. What did you think about Kim and Shane's return to Salem in 2010 for Alice's funeral?
PATSY PEASE: I felt like we’d been caught in something that hadn’t really been made a commitment to. Charlie [Shaughnessy, who played Shane) and I talked about this. All of those years of being apart and then to see each other by just sort of bumping into each other at a graveyard, that was so anti-climactic to me. I had imagined it in so many other ways, anything but just a casual, “Oh hey.” Even Charlie said, “My first line to you is, 'Oh hey.'"  It was so uncharacteristic of that couple to have such a casual brush after years and years of being apart.

SERIAL SCOOP: I was shocked that Days even attempted to reunite them. It was certainly rushed, but I remember thinking someone at the the show must of thought "Wow, we have made a mistake and we need to rectify it."
PATSY PEASE: I think the fans got that. I think that was for the fans. They were saying you (Days) supplied us with something that was missing. The fans had felt they needed closure.

SERIAL SCOOP: I know I needed closure. I wanted that happily ever after for them. Everyone wanted that.
PATSY PEASE: Or something they could think about in their imagination. I got hooked on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, with Vincent D'Onofrio (Robert Goren) and Kathryn Erbe (Alexandra Eames). Vincent’s character was such a flawed hero. He had the best of intentions, and he struggled. You could see him struggle. And she struggled to help him without losing her job. A lot of times the show would end on television, but it wouldn’t end in my mind. Little things would pop up in my mind and it stayed with me.  I would hope if we (Charles and Patsy) had one-tenth of that staying power, long after the show was off the air, I would be satisfied with being effective entertainment for my audience that I wanted to keep happy. I wanted them to feel like they had something to look forward to in their mind. These were real characters to them and you could start to imagine what they would do in certain situations.

SERIAL SCOOP: That's true. And when I think of stories for Kim, I always go back to her self loathing. Why do you think Kimberly has been a such a harsh critic of herself over the years?
PATSY PEASE: The guilt kids carry from being molested is they think there is something about them that caused it because there is something inherently dirty about them, and that is a really hard core belief to get out of your system. It’s wedged in there in developmental stages depending on when your emotional frame is being formed and your psyche is not all put together yet.  It becomes one of the bricks of what puts your psyche together.  The adults--my heroes, gods and goddesses--are the people that are supposed to be my role models.  There can't be anything wrong with them so it must be me.  There’s something about me that brings out the worst in them. Otherwise, why would they do this?  They’re not doing it to any anybody else. So you draw conclusions at a very young age and that doesn’t go away. That is something that I think they've had to be aware of for the rest of their lives. I think that’s what has stayed with her.

SERIAL SCOOP: Did you use any of that when you created the backstory for why Theresa believed Kimberly was so overprotective?
PATSY PEASE: Oh yeah, definitely. It’s a through line. When you hook on to something that is unchanging it has different levels of intensity and duration, but that kind of shame doesn’t go away. I’ve talked to parents of drug addicted teens, even those who don’t have a child abuse background, and it’s normal for a parent to think, “I’m supposed to know how to take care of this child. I must have missed something in Parenting School 101. What’s wrong with me?” And Kimberly was also thinking when you overcompensate for something you don't have ‘why wasn’t somebody there for me? Why wasn’t somebody doing what I’m doing for Theresa? I’m doing what I wanted somebody to do for me.”

SERIAL SCOOP: I was so impressed that Jen [Lilley] researched Kim and Shane's backstory when she was cast in the role [of Kim and Shane's daughter, Theresa]. She really cared.
PATSY PEASE: I respect excellence. Jen Lilley is excellent. When she does things like that, it’s on her own time, on her own dime. Nobody told her. That artist in her, that craftsman and professional in her, goes for excellence. Man I tell you, her standards are so high. Wen I see someone like that set standards that high and then go for it, I have to admire that about her. I love that about her. I just thought, "You go girl!" [Laughs]

When Charlie and I came back last year I thought “Oh great, I haven’t seen my daughter since she was like a year old. I remember I had this little bald-headed girl I used to hold in my arms. I’m sure she looks different. This little chubby cheek thing, I remember that Jeannie, with a bow on her head. [Laughs] And now she is called Theresa, and she is thoroughly changed but I don’t know because I’ve never met her.  I Facebooked Jen Lilley and said, "This is really awkward but I would like to introduce myself. My name is Patsy Pease and I’ll be playing your mother." [Laughs]

SERIAL SCOOP: That's really funny. This is really the perfect time for Kim and Shane to return to Salem. Theresa is still having problems; Eve is back [now played by Kassie DePaiva]!
PATSY PEASE: Kim lost a baby because of Eve.  She miscarried.

SERIAL SCOOP: Oh, I know. I don't think I have forgiven her for that yet. [Laughs] But I think you would work so well with Kassie DePaiva. You both have the same fire in your performances.
PATSY PEASE: I would love to. I was going to say that. One person who I would really like to work with is Kassie DePaiva. Jen and Kassie play these southern games in the hallway in between scenes and I know this because Jen tells me. Jen is from Virginia, Kassie is from Kentucky, and I’m from North Carolina. So oh my god all hell in Burbank would break loose!

EDITORS NOTE: Coming up in Part 4 of our exclusive interview, Pease delves deeper into the Shane and Kimberly relationship and discusses her favorite scene. It may surprise you.

* 10 Sensational Summer Performances on Daytime Soaps (Jen Lilley, Kassie DePaiva)

Michael Goldberg is a freelance writer, producer and actor based out of New York. He regularly contributes television and web series features to Serial Scoop.

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