|Bill and Susan Hayes at the Day of Days event on November 14, 2015. Photo Credit: Jessica Weisel|
Read our interview below.
SERIAL SCOOP: We know you can’t share too much of the upcoming storyline, but if you had to summarize in one word what your character has been up to, what would that word be?
SUSAN HAYES: Everything. Doug and Julie are now not just circling around the blocks, they are somewhat in the blocks. It’s a great place to be.
BILL HAYES: We're involved in the family as we should be, not just with the people who come home for Christmas.
SERIAL SCOOP: What has been the biggest shift for you with the regime change?
SUSAN HAYES: Well, we have a lot of new cast. We have an interesting new cast. We’re starting a new storyline. There have been a couple of big twists coming up in the characters you know and love, who you think are established in one situation, and big situation changes with family members. It’s everybody. What I’m enjoying is a lot of generations are getting a lot of material to play, which is the reason you tune in.
BILL HAYES: And we’ve had some children–Ciara and Theo who were children–who grew up and are now teenagers and, believe me, we'll see some plotting from them.
SERIAL SCOOP You’ve been on the show a long time.
SUSAN HAYES: Since 1968 and 1970, long before you were born.
SERIAL SCOOP If you had the opportunity to play different characters on the show, regardless of gender or age, who would you like to play?
BILL HAYES: Bo
SUSAN HAYES: Jack
SERIAL SCOOP: She’s the only one who chose a member of the opposite sex.
SUSAN HAYES: Well, I think it’s harder to be a guy than a woman, despite all the conversation to the contrary. And also I think also being a comedic, well-meaning, screw-up figure is something we would all love to dare to do.
BILL HAYES: Those years of Jack and Jennifer getting together and then not getting together and him doing some crazy thing. It was a wonderful character.
SUSAN HAYES: And him still being a good writer and stand-up guy. Yes, I would like to be Tom Hanks and Barbra Streisand, why not?
SERIAL SCOOP: So you guys have your own Twitter.
SUSAN HAYES: Yeah, Billy tweets a lot.
SERIAL SCOOP: How does social media impact your experience as an actor?
SUSAN HAYES: The feedback is instantaneous.
BILL HAYES: The immediacy.
SUSAN HAYES: It’s no longer filtered through the network saying, “You’re getting such and such." Or our fan mail would come through one sleeve and a lot of people wouldn’t look at it for a long time. Now you can see immediately how the show went over, how the scene went over. We have yet to get sour reviews from the fans.
BILL HAYES: We get involved with those people. Involved deeply. You hear that night about what you’ve done that day. I love that.
SUSAN HAYES: And I have discovered that we are more thought of and more enjoyed than I expected. I figured after so much time off, who cared? Only to discover–particularly since promoting the 50th anniversary book–how many people care, how much they care, and not just about Doug and Julie but the whole show, which is very gratifying when you have given so much of your life to a project.
BILL HAYES: It’s been our life, you know? We met when I got on the show in 1970. Susan was engaged to somebody else. I was freshly divorced. We started working together as partners and from that day to this, it’s been our life. Actors on the show are members of our family.
SUSAN HAYES: Dearest friends. The closest. People that know that understand what this kind of a day is like, who are going out on the road at night, who are showing up at 6 a.m. day after day. It’s a different existence doing this job.
BILL HAYES: It’s like people being in the service together or something and come back. They are very close; it's a bond.
SUSAN HAYES: Not exactly like World War II, but close!
BILL HAYES: There is always a pressure. You have to forget the lines you learned that day and memorize the lines in the next script and the next script. Everything is done now without rehearsal, and without a lot of lighting time. They used to have the lights in a specific place, and you had to stand in the right place and hit your mark. Now you have to find the light. They put a gel on the light in your area, and you find the light.
SUSAN HAYES: It’s a very fresh performance, shall I say, and if it’s good, it’s really good.
SERIAL SCOOP: Speaking of performances, I was at the 50th anniversary party, and I have to say you were my favorite part. You dancing while he sang.
BILL HAYES: Yay!
SUSAN HAYES: Well, that wasn’t planned. Billy singing was planned. Ken Corday chose his song. He never heard the song and never sung it before so he did a pretty good job. And I had no idea I would be dragged up on stage by another cast member – not by anyone in charge.
BILL HAYES: Just before I started, I said to Sue, "Get up on stage!" And she did.
SUSAN HAYES: I ran barefoot past the broken glasses–there was a tray of broken glasses–and well, if I don’t step in it, it was meant to be!