Exclusive

Days of Our Lives Exclusive: Sarah Brown Previews Her Powerful Arrival in Salem

When three-time Daytime Emmy winner Sarah Joy Brown hits Days of Our Lives on Oct. 4, she’ll mean business — literally, playing a woman of power whom of course comes bearing secrets and will in short order strike a spark with one of the local hunks. Brown, best known for creating the role of General Hospital‘s dynamic Carly (and whose daytime credits also include As the World Turns and The Bold and the Beautiful) gave TVLine a look at how she fits into the new Days ahead.

TVLINE | Days has a bit of a fall “revival” on tap, including the return of Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn (as Marlena and John). How does Sarah Brown fit into it all?
Very happily, I can tell you that! I know they’ve brought back a lot of their most beloved characters from the past, and they’ve brought me in to sort of fill a space of “the new femininity.” The landscape of television is changing to reflect what’s actually going on in the country and in the world, where less and less women are staying at home and more and more women are holding power positions. My character, Madison James, is coming in to represent that.

TVLINE | I was thinking, is this the first career businesswoman you’ve played on daytime?
[GH‘s] Claudia Zacharra was a businesswoman, but maybe this is my first legitimate businesswoman? [Laughs] She’s definitely someone that more women can relate to.

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TVLINE | What is your “litmus test” when considering a new role?
[Days co-executive producer] Greg [Meng], whom I adore, and I had a really long meeting, and he and I just really hit it off. He approached me first of all with his vision for where he wants to take Days of Our Lives and soaps in general, so he was very interested in collaborating with me on bringing in a new character, to let me help design who she’s going to be. They had a very specific backstory for her which I really identify with and loved, and it didn’t come off as a one-dimensional character from the beginning. So in terms of my litmus test, if there’s a backstory I can identify with and it hits me in the gut, that’s the surefire way to get me.

TVLINE | Does Madison come bearing secrets?
Well certainly! And that may or may not be my downfall.

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TVLINE | Which cast members will you be playing with from the get-go?
At the moment I am working with Eric Martsolf (Brady), John Aniston (Victor), and Lauren Koslow (Kate)…. They’re all wonderful. John Aniston has me cracking up, he’s so funny. I love Eric, he’s such a sweetheart. Alison Sweeney is also going to be a big part of this; Sami and I have a bit of a backstory that comes into play pretty quickly.

TVLINE | I was going to say, you must have some buddies on the cast.
It’s not that we’ve worked together, but we all know each other, so it’s really lovely. And I’ve locked myself out of the studio already twice — it wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t! I’m going to work with a smile on my face every day.

TVLINE | Will you overlap with Tamara Braun (Taylor, GH‘s second Carly) at all?
I don’t believe so. I think she’s gone already. [Ed. Note: Braun indeed last airs Sept.23.] Wouldn’t that have been funny? But I did see Nadia [Bjorlin, Chloe] on her last day.

TVLINE | Will we get a quick sense of who they’re going to point you at romantically?
You’re going to get it real fast, like within my first 24 hours on the show. [Laughs] One thing I think is really important is chemistry, and if actors have chemistry audiences will pick up on that. Audiences will root for characters that don’t even exist as a couple because the actors’ chemistry is so strong. So, thankfully, Eric and I have a fabulous chemistry.

TVLINE | Do Greg and the other Days execs seem especially vested in daytime, at a time when it’s easy not to be?
Very much so. Greg has all the hopes for daytime that I have, that it can be completely turned around. I feel I have a good sense of what it’s lacking, and Greg and I agree on what that is. It’s got to be out with the old way of doing things, where you take for granted that the audience isn’t paying attention. Daytime is infamous for being the type of show you can watch once a week, so the idea that you need to say every bit of information from the last three days in every scene is just outdated. People are a lot smarter now, so the average person will call bulls–t on that. Saying the name of the character in every line, people hiding behind bushes and pretending the other characters can’t see them…. That’s got to change. You need to find new, inventive ways.

TVLINE | And lastly, because I know there are a lot of primetime dramas you’re a fan of: If you offered a one-off guest star gig, will you be able to do it?
Absolutely. That’s important to me to keep myself present in film and television. I feel that the more shows allow us to do that, the better that is for daytime.

TVLINE | And what are your favorite shows these days?
Boardwalk Empire is No. 1, with Games of Thrones No. 2. I will not miss those. And you know I love SVU, Harry’s Law, because Kathy Bates is such a great actress, Community is my favorite comedy…. But my two favorites are Boardwalk Empire and Games of Thrones.