DC EXCLUSIVE: Blake Berris Talks The Mentalist, The Starter Wife And DAYS Exit
From his first appearance in Salem, USA in November 2006, Blake Berris stole the hearts of legions of Days of Our Lives fans as lovable geek Nick Fallon. No matter whom the UCLA alum—he graduated in just three short years with his acting degree—shared screen time with, his commitment to his craft was evident. Whether the storyline called for Nick to pretend to be someone else to woo the girl of his dreams, Chelsea Brady (Rachel Melvin), or bed her cougarific mother Billie (Julie Pinson), Berris sold it every time. He even brought believability to storylines that saw the heroic Nick acting out of character for the affections and/or approval of some of the most annoying bad girls in recent soap memory. Willow (Annie Burgstede) and Melanie (Molly Burnett) anyone?
Through it all, Berris and Melvin's chemistry kept Nick and Chelsea fans tuning in to see if the geek would ever get his girl. Unfortunately, in the end he didn’t. Instead, Nick's exit storyline saw the character going off his rocker after killing his girlfriend's father, a plot twist the actor reveals was the “coolest” he experienced during his run on the soap when I recently caught up with him for Daytime Confidential.
Berris also talked with DC about his dramatic exit from Salem, what it was like working with real-life pal Melvin, Emmy-winner Suzanne Rogers (Maggie, DAYS) and Debra Messing, who Berris reoccurred opposite during three episodes of the short-lived USA dramedy The Starter Wife. He also gives us a sneak peek at tonight's episode of the hit CBS drama The Mentalist (8 pm C/9 pm ET), where he plays a British film actor who shares scenes, and perhaps a kiss (and more?) with Rebecca Rigg, the real life wife of series lead Simon Baker. Then the passionate thespian shares how thrilled he is that Barack Obama, whom Berris infamously dropped to his skivvies in support of during the Boxers or Briefs for Obama campaign, is now in the White House.
Daytime Confidential: On DAYS, Nick Fallon was pretty unlucky in love. What did you make of the character's taste in women?
Blake Berris: I think Nick was just such a good kid. He grew up really sheltered, and then in college he focused everything on academics. Once he moved to Salem, he finally was able to take a deep breath and find out who he was. Nick was always a bit of an outsider. He didn't fit in with the cool kids, so of course he ended up falling for Chelsea who was his complete opposite; she sort of made him feel alive. She was his first love and he tried to get her for a really long time, but over time he just became resentful and shattered. Willow was the same kind of girl for Nick, he wanted to rescue her, be her protector. Melanie was, I guess, a super-sized version of those girls. She was the straw that broke the camel's back.
DC: I'll say, since becoming involved with her landed Nick in the crazy house! One of my biggest gripes with the storyline, is that it totally would have been believable for Nick to kill someone over Chelsea, because she was his one true love, but Melanie?
BB: I think the trap that some actors can easily fall into is trying to figure out whether or not what's in the script is something they would do or something they think the character would do. Basically my job was to take what was written on the page and do the best with the material I could. You have to make it work. I asked myself, 'Why would Nick do these things?' and then committed to making it work.
DC: Well it definitely showed in your performances. As much as I hated to see the character written into a corner you totally sold Nick’s breakdown.
BB: Thank you very much. I loved playing it! I've always liked playing dark characters, ever since I was a little kid; I liked pretending to be the bad guys! I don't know what that reveals about my personality [Laughs], but yeah it was by far the coolest material I had since starting on DAYS.
DC: I've read that you and your former DAYS leading lady Rachel Melvin are good friends in real life. I know she recently left the show as well, are you two comparing battle stories from the auditioning circuit?
BB: Well, I don't know if I'd say battle stories! [Laughs] No Rachel is an amazingly-talented girl. I'm not worried about her finding work at all.
DC: In addition to your scenes with Rachel, fans really loved any occasion where Nick had story with his Aunt Maggie. Do you miss working with Emmy-winner Suzanne Rogers?
BB: Definitely. I had a great time working with Suzanne, especially a lot of the juicier stuff at the end. She's just one of those phenomenal actresses who are incredible to work with.
DC: Like Debra Messing? You worked with her on The Starter Wife. What was it like working with the A-list star?
BB: It was a blast actually! Debra was great. We did a lot of bickering in our scenes which was fun. We would do improv to warm up for our scenes. I was really surprised to hear it got cancelled. It was a fun show.
DC: And now you've booked The Mentalist, tell me how that role came about?
BB: When my manager called me to tell me they wanted me to play a British character, an actor who is doing an American film, I decided to go in to the audition using a British accent. I studied a little bit at Oxford, so I thought it would be good and I pulled it off and got the job! They didn’t realize I wasn’t British until I had the role!
DC: That's amazing. Well, not to spoil too much. What can you tell me about the episode?
BB: Well, I share scenes opposite Simon Baker's real life wife, Rebecca Rigg. All I can say, is there's a kiss and a slap!
DC: Sounds like fun. Can't wait to see who gets to do what! I know you were very vocal in your support for now President Barack Obama, even going so far as to drop to your underwear for the Boxers or Briefs for Obama Campaign. How do you feel now that he is in the White House?
BB: I'm really excited, really excited about the change President Obama is going to bring. He's an icon for the rest of the world and for us here in America. He has shattered so many stereotypes and notions, not only as an African-American, but as an American. He is always so elegant and well-spoken, and I think he is doing an amazing job under the immense pressures we are currently facing with the economy and everything else that's going on in the world. I really can't wait to see what the next four years bring.
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