Days of our Lives fans are surprised to find that a whopper of a recast that took place for the NBC soap's Peacock spinoff Beyond Salem is working way better than anyone thought. Former The Young and the Restless star Zach Tinker (ex-Fenmore Baldwin) has taken over for Freddie Smith in the role of Sonny Kiriakis, and he has been an immediate hit with fans -- even those who mourn the loss of Smith in the shoes of the legacy character.
As Soap Central previously reported, Smith had been keeping the door open for a return as DAYS' Sonny, whom he had been playing from 2011 until 2020, when the powers that be unexpectedly wrote the character off the canvas. Smith recently made the decision to permanently close the door for a return in order to start a new life in Florida with his wife, Alyssa Tabit, and fortunately, he gave his replacement a nice blessing.
In a new interview with Soap Opera Digest, Tinker reveals that he was, ahem, beyond thrilled to hear that Smith supported him taking over Smith's former role.
"I saw that Freddie released a thing on Instagram saying, 'I'm not coming back to the role but this guy, Zach, is coming and I'm sure he'll do a great job and good luck to him,' and that made the transition feel a lot better," Tinker explains. "Someone passing a torch to you feels a lot better than feeling like you stole the torch, almost! So it was really nice to get his blessing, more or less, like, 'Go kick some butt as Sonny and do your thing.'"
Fortunately, Chandler Massey -- who plays Sonny's other half, Will Horton -- has also given Tinker his blessing. In an interview with Soap Opera Network, Massey explained that like a lot of fans, he was initially hesitant about a recast of Sonny, but Tinker immediately blew him away.
"I was a little nervous at first because Freddie... there'd been several Will's, like six or seven over the years, [but] there's only been one Sonny," Massey shared. "It's always been Freddie and he did a masterful job. I worked with him for hundreds of episodes and you get used to seeing the same face. So, I guess I was nervous because... I didn't want the characters to take a step back because of the two new people working together."
However, as Massey explains, that definitely did not happen. "Sometimes a dynamic takes time to build or whatever. I remember the very first scenes that we did, I could tell Zach's got it and he's like, 'We're not going to lose a beat!' Freddie left like humongous shoes to fill but I think we've found the exact right person to fill them. Zach's amazing. I think we worked really well together and he's just incredibly talented. He made it fun and he made Will and Sonny feel real."
As for whether or not DAYS fans will see Tinker pop up on the network version of the soap opera, Tinker reports that he is definitely game for a stint in Salem.
"DAYS is such an escape and it's so much fun to play a character that is not something you usually get to go in for," Tinker shares. "The crew is amazing, the cast is amazing. I would love to call them my family. Sonny is a very beloved character and I think I could do him justice, so yeah, I would love to."
Massey also says he would be happy to reprise his role of Will on DAYS if asked. "No matter what I'm doing I'm always going to seriously consider [returning] because that place is where I grew up and I love the people there," he reports.
How do you feel about Zach Tinker's work as Sonny Kiriakis on Beyond Salem? Would you like to see the actor bring the character to the network version of the soap opera? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.