Days of our Lives fans were once again crushed when Martha Madison (Belle Black) sailed off into the sunset in February -- her second exit from the NBC soap in the last year. But though she's gone from Salem, her latest project is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from DAYS: she plays the vivacious character Vivian in Ladies of the Lake, a new miniseries coproduced by Kyle Lowder (ex-Brady Black) and Emmy-winning producer Michael Caruso, based on the book of the same name written by DAYS' executive producer, Ken Corday.
The glamorous production scheduled to hit Amazon on Monday, May 15, tells the story of four wealthy wives living in the exclusive gated community of Avalon, whose abusive husbands begin to turn up dead. And Madison tells Soap Central that starring opposite actresses like Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker, DAYS), Lilly Melgar (ex-Lily Corinthos, GH), Marie Wilson (ex-Summer/Bree, DAYS; ex-Meg Snyder, As the World Turns), and Jessica Morris (ex-Jennifer Rappaport, One Life to Live) was some of the most fun she's ever had.
soapcentral.com: The Amazon debut of Ladies of the Lake is just around the corner: How do you feel about bringing the series to the public?
Martha Madison: I'm so excited for viewers to finally see this series. We shot this last summer, so I've been anxiously awaiting its release. It was such a fun experience getting to work with so many of my friends from the soap world outside of our normal setting.
soapcentral.com: How did you become involved with the series, and why did you say yes to the project?
Madison: Michael Caruso, who I worked with on Winterthorne, came to me and asked me to participate. And when Michael asks, you say yes. He's such a creative and detail-oriented producer, and working with him and Barbi [Caruso, producer] has always been a blast! They have such a unique vision and aren't afraid of taking risks. I also credit them with taking extra care of their cast and crew. So, when he asked, I jumped at the chance.
soapcentral.com: For those who haven't read the book, what can you tease about your character, Vivian? Why will fans love her -- or hate her?
Madison: I never want to speculate on whether fans will love or hate a character. What I will say is that she is strong, smart, and has many layers to her. She's faced with difficult decisions regarding her relationships and is a fierce defender of those close to her. Whether you love or hate her, it's my hope that you will be able to relate to her and the decisions she makes.
soapcentral.com: So even though the story is admittedly over the top, you think viewers will still be able to relate to these women?
Madison: I think it's important to remember that this is a fictional story about a fictional community full of extraordinary, fictional people. This story isn't about "everyday women." It's full of extremes; however, each character's motivation is based in truth. So, yes, I think it's still relatable.
soapcentral.com: What was it like to play Vivian?
Madison: It was such a fun role to play because she is extremely smart and capable but also deeply flawed and vulnerable. I love playing women with a strong point of view. Vivian has that in spades.
soapcentral.com: What can you say about working with Ari, Marie, Jessica, and Lilly?
Madison: Well, I've worked with everyone but Jessica before. I couldn't have put a better group of women together myself. We all share a deep love for acting and creating content, we are all "risk takers," we all have worked on network soaps, and we all have similar senses of humor. These are women that I call friends and would jump at the chance to work with anytime anywhere.
soapcentral.com: The look and feel of Ladies of the Lake seems very stylized -- over the top and just glamorous fun. What do you think about the style choices that were made and how much fun was it to be in a project like that?
Madison: Again, the style of the show is very true to the overall vision that Michael and Kyle had for the show. It's supposed to elicit a "perfection" that doesn't really exist in the real world. As far as getting glammed up every day for a month, yes, I'll take it! I think it makes the job easier and more fun when you have a talented style team literally turning you into the character each day.
soapcentral.com: I heard you were allowed to keep your costumes? What is your favorite piece from the show, and where do you think you might wear it again?
Madison: Ha! Well, Michael forbid us to wear any of the clothes anywhere until the show was released, as the costumes are very much central to the show itself. Most of my dresses were by Ted Baker, which is a great fit for my body type. Hopefully, I'll get lots of use out of them soon. I wore one of them to a recent family wedding, but don't tell Michael that!
soapcentral.com: I, of course, have to ask you about DAYS. Is there anything you can tease about your status with the show? Fans would love to hear more details about when they might be able to see Belle again!
Madison: There are no plans for a Belle return as far as I know, [but] if fans want to see us back, let the producers/writers/network execs know. Viewers can write letters or tag TPTB on social media. I know we would both be very happy to return if the circumstances were right.
soapcentral.com: Is there anything else you want to add before I let you go?
Madison: If you run this interview before Saturday, I am hosting a spin class at Soul Cycle Beverly Hills on April 15th, benefiting the MS Society! You can find the link for tickets here.
For more information on Ladies of the Lake, be sure to check out the series' debut on Amazon on Monday, May 15. Anyone can watch the series for free on Amazon, and Amazon Prime members will be able to watch without ads. If you are not an Amazon Prime member, click here for a free 30-day trial.
How much are you looking forward to the premiere of Ladies of the Lake? Does the premise of the show intrigue you? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.