Greg Vaughan fought addiction as Lucky on "General Hospital," faced off against Victor Newman as Diego on "The Young and the Restless" and has done his time on juicy primetime soaps like "Beverly Hills, 90210," the new "90210" and "GCB." Now, Vaughan is back in daytime as Father Eric Brady on "Days of Our Lives." The soap vet talks about joining "Days of Our Lives," whether or not the collar can keep Eric away from Nicole and transitioning from playing Alison Sweeney's Hallmark love to her Salem twin.
MSN TV: You've done daytime at CBS and ABC and now you're back in the game on NBC. How is life in Salem?
Greg Vaughan: I know, I've been hopping around! (laughs) I'm surrounded by a lot of beauty and talent, so I'm enjoying it. In this business, it's a degree and a half of separation, so it's nice to now stand opposite those that I've respected and appreciated. We're having a lot of fun.
Was there anyone in particular you were excited to get onset with?
I just look forward to working with anybody and everybody. I go in and I'm like a kid in a candy store. I've seen a lot of great, young talented actors on this show. It's nice to be recreating a new opportunity with them. I'm just getting familiar with a lot of them.
You're recreating a Salem character that we haven't seen in years. How has Eric changed since we last saw him, aside from the new collar and new actor?
Well, his love life is a little bit slow! (laughs) He's by all means a lonely kind of guy, but he's got a higher power that he speaks with. When you step out in the real world, you come back with all the tutelage and knowledge that I have applied to Eric's character and the journey he's been on. But I haven't stood in front of the mirror and seen Eric's reflection yet. I'm looking more at everyone else, trying to be the light at the end of the tunnel and the calm in anybody's storm.
Can we expect some twists where he's concerned?
Of course! That's what it's all about: Who's doing what and who with? Right now, it's about re-familiarizing himself with people and seeing how they're accepting this personal choice. That going to come under question a lot.
When you heard he'd become a priest, did it change how you approached the role?
I wasn't sure, at first. When the opportunity presented itself, I had a lot of questions. I wanted to know, Where has his journey been? Where is he coming from? And where is he going to go? They said, "Well, he's a priest." That was the first thing out of the gate. I was like, "Wow! Uh..." I think it was a state of shock. I don't know that people are going to identify me, per say, as someone in a collar.
But I also thought, "Wow, that could be really interesting," especially the more I heard and after I spoke with Ari Zucker (Nicole). I wanted to know how she felt and I was happy to see that she was still an excited little girl. She was excited not just that I was coming on board, but she wanted someone who wanted to get in and dive into the work. Just hearing her passion about what she's been doing for 15 years - you don't know if somebody's tired or wanting change after all that time. Talking to her reinvigorated me, so when the role came through, I knew I was going to have fun doing this.
As a hunk in a collar with a former lover in Salem, how many times have you heard references to "The Thorn Birds" since signing on?
I know. I've heard. It's definitely been brought up. My parents, especially, were like, "Oh my god!" I had to re-familiarize myself with the movie. I'm old enough to know about "The Thorn Birds," but I've had to explain it to a lot of the newer generation.
That leads to the big question: Is Eric really over Nicole?
That's a good question. That's a journey we're all going to ride together. I don't want to know and they're not going to tell me. I like to go in not knowing. Let me create and see what journey I can take people on, but at the same time, I'm taking a journey with everyone else.
On Monday, Dec. 2, we finally got a hint that there's something going on with Eric: How long will it take for us to learn what his demons are and what he's hiding?
We're going to start slowly tapping into where he's actually been and what he's been doing. The mirror hasn't been turned yet. It's been about helping others, but we're going to see some stuff. I'm curious to see what people think and where it's going to go.
Some fans are theorizing he's in hiding and isn't really a priest: What better way to get dish than to hide out as a priest!
Yeah! It's between me and god. It's confidentiality. (laughs) I'm getting a lot of information. I don't know if I'm plotting... The mystery is still waiting to unveil itself. He's absorbing it all. Things are going to unfold.
You and Alison Sweeney (Sami) just finished shooting a romantic Hallmark movie together. What was it like to immediately transition into playing twins?
The movie's called "Two In." I think it's coming out in February for Valentines. It's a nice little romantic comedy. She's a 911 operator: I'm a fireman. We communicate a lot. It's a fun ride, but it was a shock. I had just tested [here] days before and got word I was hired. "Oh and by the way, you're starting a movie tomorrow." We were excited about what was to come [at "Days of Our Lives"], but we really focused on the movie. It was a new challenge for her to step out of her comfort zone. It was nice to see that transform and see what we created. Then when we got to work [here] and she starts punching me, pushing me and hitting me, it was like, "We're in a whole 'nother world now!" It's night and day. 180 degrees. We had so much fun there. It was like a warm up before I came into Salem.
So fess up: Can we expect trouble from Eric?
Oh, how we all wish to know! I personally am looking for trouble for Eric, but it hasn't hit me yet. We'll see.
By Deena Barnet