Fans of Days of our Lives star Kyler Pettis (ex-Theo Carver) were heartbroken when the young actor left the NBC soap opera in early 2018, and it turns out he was just as emotional about the end of his chapter as Abe Carver's autistic son -- so much so that his real-life emotions during his final scenes with the soap led to such powerful performances, they earned him a Daytime Emmy Award nomination.
Soap Central spoke with Pettis shortly after the nominations were announced, and he opened up about the (slightly) profane way he reacted to the news, how he felt during the filming of Theo's goodbye scenes, reuniting with his DAYS castmates, and the bold way he plans to rock the red carpet this May.
Soap Central: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination!
Kyler Pettis: Thank you! Thank you so much. This feels so out of body. When I first was told, it hit me really hard. I was in shock, and I couldn't even think. And now, it's so big, I feel like I've kind of removed myself a little bit.
Soap Central: I can only imagine. It would be such a surreal experience that probably takes awhile to set in.
Pettis: Yeah, and this is a dream that I've dreamt, so it's crazy that it's actually happening.
Soap Central: How did you find out that you'd been nominated?
Pettis: My manager and my agent were the first people to tell me. I was driving when I received the call, and I had to pull over because I was screaming and I was cussing a little bit out of excitement. It was insane.
Soap Central: I'm glad you pulled over instead of continuing to drive down the road like that!
Pettis: [Laughs] Yeah, me, too!
Soap Central: So did you call anyone or message anyone with the good news after you found out?
Pettis: Oh yeah, my family has been in the loop with the whole nomination process, from the pre-noms and everything. We have a group family chat, so I texted them all, and everyone was freaking out. Then my brother FaceTimed me -- I hadn't even put my phone down, and I got a FaceTime from him. It was pretty cool.
Soap Central: I love that you have a group text for your family. That's really cool.
Pettis: Oh, yeah! It's a lot, and sometimes it goes off for like 50 texts, and I don't get a word in because everyone is so involved. And other times, I'm the only one talking! But we all love each other and stay connected, so it's pretty great.
Soap Central: That is really great. Family is everything! So which scenes did you choose for your Emmy submission reel?
Pettis: I included my goodbye scenes. I was leaving the show, and I just got shot and was in a coma and then woke up and was paralyzed from the waist down. So, I submitted those scenes, realizing that I might have to leave to get treatment then actually leaving and having to say goodbye, and then my final scene was me actually leaving the show, and then me actually leaving the set, walking off. So, it was a special set of scenes that I submitted.
Soap Central: Do you clearly remember that day, filming those scenes?
Pettis: Oh, yeah. All my emotions that were in the scenes were directly related to what I was feeling in real life. I was there for almost three years, and I was very present for that day. Leaving my character's family and friends was very surreal to me, because I was leaving my family and friends, too. So, I definitely will always remember that day. I knew that I wanted to submit those scenes last year, but they didn't air until after the cutoff line -- if I could have submitted them last year, that's what I would have done!
Soap Central: What do you think about the competition in your category?
Pettis: You know what? It's competition, and I will rise to the occasion! I have a very competitive family. I mean, it's all fun and games, but to win would be an honor.
Soap Central: You are up against one person from your own show -- Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton) -- who also had pretty great material this year. Does being up against someone from your own show make you feel any more competitive? Or does it make you feel any less competitive, even?
Pettis: No, I think I'm competitive when it comes to the structure of "You could win something," but seeing everyone's reels, and there's also someone in the category who is repped by my manager and agent, so it's not like I'm, "Oh, I'm going up against you now!" It's actually exciting to see people that I work with -- and that I'm kind of connected to -- be in the same category. It shows me that anything and anyone is competition, but at the end of the day, I'm happy that they're there with me. I had such a great time filming with Lucas, and I've known him off set, too, so I'm excited.
Soap Central: There were so many nominated actors from DAYS this year, which means there will be a lot of people from the show attending the Emmy Awards. Is there anyone in particular you're looking forward to reconnecting with at the ceremony in May?
Pettis: I haven't seen the people that I worked with for a while now, because life has taken me in different directions, so I'm excited to see pretty much everyone! I guess in particular, Olivia Rose Keegan [Claire Brady] because she was my girlfriend [on the show], and we did most of our scenes together. And then also my on-screen dad, James Reynolds [Abe Carver]. But really, everyone. I'm just excited to be nominated and walk the red carpet and experience the excitement with everyone.
Soap Central: Do you have any idea what you might wear for the big night? I know it's kind of early, but have you thought about it yet?
Pettis: Oh, I'm always thinking about that type of stuff! I actually have a couple of [designers] that have invited me to see their showrooms and try on some stuff. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I definitely want that to be part of my experience, my outfit.
Soap Central: Are you planning on bringing a guest with you?
Pettis: You know, I might show up alone. I would have to choose between my family members, and for some reason, this being my first one, I kind of want to be able to stand alone as a young man and experience it that way. But I don't know yet -- I could go with a family member, or I could show up by myself.
Soap Central: You mentioned before that your life has taken you in different directions since you left DAYS. Do you have any upcoming projects that you'd like to let your fans know about?
Pettis: I don't have anything upcoming that I can talk about right now. But I do want to acknowledge the love and support that I've been receiving since I joined the show and since I've been off the show. I will post something on social media that doesn't even have to do with acting or soap operas, and I still have people commenting with stuff like, "We loved you on DAYS! Please come back, we miss you!"
Soap Central: Aawwww, that's so sweet!
Pettis: I know! The support and love has just been overwhelming, so I'd like to give a shout-out to the fans for letting me step into their world and accepting me as a character on one of their most beloved shows.
What do you think about our interview with Kyler Pettis? Do you think the young actor has a shot at taking home Emmy gold? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.