Billy Flynn pretty much blew everyone away the first day he took on the role of Days of our Lives' Chad DiMera, so it's not a surprise he made it to the list of final nominees for this year's Daytime Emmy Awards race. But the fact that the 31-year-old made the nomination in the Leading Actor category is pretty astounding. Soap Central spoke with the actor to get his thoughts on how it feels to be in the tough category, the special scenes that put him there, and the funny thing he did after landing the nomination.
soapcentral.com: Congratulations, Billy! The first thing I noticed about the nomination list this year is that you made it into the leading actor category. Are you just completely blown away by that?
Billy Flynn: I was pre-nominated in the category last year and didn't get it, but I was like, "Well, I can't go back now." I'd rather have the toughest competition, I guess, and somehow I slipped through.
soapcentral.com: How did you find out that you'd been nominated?
Flynn: I found out from Maya in our publicity team. They were as excited as I was. But when I got the call, my reception was spotty because I was in a meeting up in the hills here, so I talked to her, and I didn't really know what to say. I was kind of like, "Oh. Okay, that's great." And then my phone started blowing up when I was coming down from where the meeting was and I started getting service again. And then it hit me. It was pretty awesome and overwhelming.
soapcentral.com: Was your initial nonchalant reaction really because you had spotty service, or were you actually just a bit stunned?
Flynn: It hit me by surprise, for sure. I really didn't think I was going to get the nomination for a lot of different reasons, one being how young I am. In this category and in this medium, I think I'm really young. Usually, it's a lot of guys who have been around forever. So I was shocked. And then it all kind of hit, and I got a little bit emotional for some personal reasons; I lost someone really close to me this year who said I was going to get a nomination, and that kind of sunk in. So it was a really cool experience.
soapcentral.com: How does it feel to be up against these really talented men in your category? Are you keeping your cool?
Flynn: It's awesome! I don't know what to say. The way that they vote, you never really know. A lot of times, a lot of these people have known each other for years, and they've been on shows together with each other. I've never been on another show, and I don't really know a lot of people, so for me, it's really exciting, because it's cool to know that they're voting on [my] work and what's on the reel without any predispositions, you know? It's a really cool feeling. And then you have all these guys who are legends in their own rights on their shows, so it's like, what am I doing on this list?!
soapcentral.com: Have you had the chance to talk with Vincent Irizarry [Deimos Kiriakis] yet, who's also in the category with you?
Flynn: No, I haven't. But I've got to shoot him a text. It's been kind of hectic. I've been running around, I have the day off, and you hear stories all the time, like there's this interesting story about Bryan Cranston, when he won, he comes home and he's got the Emmy and he's like, "Look at my Emmy!" And [his wife] is like, "That's great. I need you to take out the trash." It was kind of like that. I was on the phone with my mom and telling her it was great to get the nomination, and then I come in and my wife is like, "Congratulations! We've got to go to Target and get a shower head." [Laughs] But my wife was so excited for me, too. But I think I got sidetracked. Yes, I should definitely call Vincent.
soapcentral.com: He should call you, too. It works both ways!
Flynn: Yeah, right? Maybe I should hold out and see who calls who first! [Laughs]
soapcentral.com: You guys are in competition now, so maybe you should keep that in mind.
Flynn: So maybe I don't call him then? Maybe I send him a threatening letter or something. Can I mail it? Can I do that?
soapcentral.com: Oh, totally. Especially if you do it old school style with cut-out magazine letters.
Flynn: Oh, absolutely! "You will go down! P.S. Congratulations." And then maybe a Victoria's Secret model that I cut out and add in. Just for something nice to look at.
soapcentral.com: That would be a nice touch. So what scenes did you end up submitting?
Flynn: Oh, I had a hell of a time with that. I ended up submitting the two scenes that meant the most to me throughout the year. One of them was a scene with Joe Mascolo [ex-Stefano DiMera) where I sat down at his feet like a little boy and just had this conversation with him. That kind of changed a lot of things for me. It was supposed to be his last scene with me, and so I chose that scene, and then with what really happened, it all became so real. But it meant a lot, because it was kind of like an ode to my great-grandfather, so I knew I was going to pick that scene no matter what. And then I picked the scene where I destroyed the den or the office after I find out that Abigail is dead. So it's kind of a reel about loss, which is kind of where my head was at, because I just lost my great-grandmother, who was really close to me. So I just told that story about loss, and I touched a different aspect of how to handle it, I think, and that was it. It was a really short, short reel. We had, I think, 20 minutes, but I chose two scenes, and it was about ten minutes long.
soapcentral.com: Did anybody help you chose the scenes, or did you just instinctively know exactly what you wanted to choose?
Flynn: No, I'm terrible at that kind of stuff, and I second-guess everything. You have an idea of what's good, and Maya and Deliah [from our publicity department] and Lou, who's the head of our editing department, they kind of gave me a hand. But at the end of the day, you have to be comfortable and be happy with whatever you submit. So I picked the scenes that meant the most to me, and whether I got nominated for it or not, at least I knew I'd be content with what I submitted.
soapcentral.com: What do you think about Kate Mansi [ex-Abigail Deveraux] getting a nomination?
Flynn: It's awesome. She absolutely deserves it. We had a hell of a run there before she left. There was a lot of work that I really, really enjoyed. In fact, one of the scenes I submitted was right after she left, which was kind of [another reason I chose it]. She was a partner that I had for a really, really long time. So there were a lot of different emotions that went into the scenes where I tear apart everything. It was therapeutic for both me and my character. But I'm super proud of her, and she deserved to win for sure.
soapcentral.com: I think it's actually quite special that your scenes included Kate, who's no longer with the show, and Joe, who has since passed away. You're right that that must add something extremely special to your reel.
Flynn: Yeah, like I said, it meant a lot to me. The thing with Joe... the scene was so important, and the two scenes really worked together a lot. At that time, because they both left sort of around the same time, with Joe leaving the show, and I knew I wouldn't see him for a long time, so I felt the loss. I kind of felt lonely for a while. So it's an ode to them. I definitely miss Joe a lot. So there is a lot of love in it, and I definitely owe both of them. Joe was amazing in that scene himself. I said that, as soon as I got done. I had never seen him so present and there with me. It was unbelievable. It blew me away.
soapcentral.com: Another thing that is quite special this year is that John Aniston [Victor Kiriakis] received his first nomination ever after over 30 years of being on the show. It's his very first nomination.
Flynn: Is it really?! Holy shit! That blows me away! When I found out he got nominated, I hadn't seen anything because I was out of service, and I was driving and talking, so I didn't see anybody else who got nominated, and my wife told me, and the first person she mentioned, I think, was John. She was like, "Victor!" And I was like, "John Aniston?" And that made my heart feel so good. He's brilliant. If anybody deserves it, it's him.
What do you think about Flynn landing a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Lead Actor category? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.