After recently reprising his role as Philip Kiriakis on Days of our Lives, John-Paul Lavoisier sat down with Soap Opera Digest to discuss how he got the call and his short run on the beloved soap. Lavoisier originally took over the role from Jay Kenneth Johnson in 2015, but the show opted to part ways with Lavoisier just a year later in 2016. That changed earlier this year when Lavoisier received a call from DAYS' brass. "I woke up to missed calls, text messages, and an email on March 9," he explains. "And I was on set Monday, March 13," he said.
However, the invitation hadn't been a complete surprise to Lavoisier. "When John [Aniston, Victor Kiriakis] passed away, I heard about it instantly. I was at an event, and somebody mentioned it. I was shocked, of course. Part of me thought that this was obviously going to have a major effect on DAYS and part of me wondered, 'Huh, I wonder if my phone will ring?'," he said. Later, Lavoisier "sort of forgot about that," until he received the three messages from DAYS.
Lavoisier revealed that he was hit with two feelings. First, he'd been incredibly shocked and flattered to be asked to return to DAYS because the last time around, the show had let him ago. The second feeling had been a bit comical. "I've gotten incredibly used to a certain lifestyle and structure to my day. One of my staples is I go on afternoon runs in my neighborhood," Lavoisier said. After he hung up with his agent he thought, "Oh, my God. This affects my daily run. When am I going to run?" Lavoisier had wondered.
Lavoisier acknowledged that it might sound vain, silly, or selfish, but it had been a genuine thought. "I now had a gig where I have to study and go and work. My whole clock of life was going to be different during that time," he explained. However, Lavoisier quickly found a solution to his dilemma. "The days that you work, you're up early and there for a long time," he said. "In order to get some cardio in, I actually walked home from the studio in Burbank, which is like nine miles from my home. That was my replacement for my run," Lavoisier revealed.
Due to the short notice from DAYS, Lavoisier had to hit the ground running, since he hadn't been able to do any of the prep work on his character or had an opportunity to catch up on everything that he had missed. "The preparation just sort of happened live each day when I was running lines with my co-stars," he said. Lavoisier admitted that both Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane) and Eric Martsolf (Brady Black) would try to help by filling him in on what he needed to know.
"I remember filming a scene one day with Nadia and Paul Telfer [Xander Kiriakis]. Right before we started, I thought, 'Wait a second. I don't know how much I hate Xander.' I looked at Paul and said, 'How much do I hate you on a scale of one to ten?' He said, 'We don't like each other. About a seven.' I wanted to know how much fuel should be in my fire," Lavoisier explained. It was one of the many little ways that Lavoisier got reacquainted with Philip.
There have been some changes since Lavoisier was last on the DAYS set. There are now COVID protocols with testing. "Once I was in the building and in the hallway, it all felt comfortable and familiar," Lavoisier said. "If there were nerves, I had to suppress them because all of the work I had ahead of me," he shared. Fortunately for Lavoisier, it was just one episode per day. "But those first couple of days, especially my first day there, I had a lot of dialogue and I wanted to nail it word perfect. I couldn't even consider being nervous. I just had to focus on the task at hand," he recounted.
Lavoisier also had an opportunity to reconnect with his former co-stars. "I got gifted the biggest dressing room in the building. It's twice the size of everyone else's. First class. At one point, Eric, Nadia, Martha [Madison, Belle Black], and Brandon [Beemer, Shawn-Douglas Brady] all congregated in my room. It was so nice. We were having this wonderful roundtable chat. I hadn't taped anything yet but seeing them helped me get comfortable." Lavoisier recalled. It had made him realize that he was surrounded by friends and that everything would be okay. "So when I got up on set, it wasn't scary," he said.
Lavoisier's return to DAYS might be temporary, but he has nothing but good things to say about his time back on set. "I got very lucky. I was very pleased with the stuff that they gave me," he shared. "I did 13 shows. The initial call was, "Hey, can you be here for five shows next week?' Then three more shows trickled in, then two more shows. Before I knew it, I was doing 13 shows in three weeks. It was fast, full, and fun," Lavoisier said.
When asked if Lavoisier would be interested in returning to DAYS on a permanent basis, he made his feelings clear. "If I was offered a more permanent position of which a large portion of my work day was spent with Eric, Martha, Nadia, and Lauren [Koslow, Kate Roberts], I would pay them," he confessed with a wink.
Lavoisier is no stranger to daytime. He played Rex Balsom on ABC's One Life to Live from 2002 until the show's final episode in 2012.
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