Exclusive: Eileen Davidson Talks About Her Shocking Departure From Days of Our Lives
Eileen Davidson | Photo Credits: Amanda Edwards/WireImage
This hurts. The spectacular Eileen Davidson has chosen to leave her role as whackjob villainess Kristen DiMera on NBC's Days of Our Lives and will last be seen during November sweeps. TV Guide Magazine landed the first exit interview with the actress, who reveals why she's taking a hike from a gig that's winning her wide acclaim. How come Days didn't try to keep her? Will she return to CBS's The Young and the Restless and her role as Ashley Abbott? And why, dear God, are you doing this to us?
TV Guide Magazine: You sure know how to stir it up. Everyone's in a tizzy with the news of your departure, me included. So give us the deets. What went down?
Davidson: It was nothing financial. I've known about this since last March when they came to renegotiate my deal. We discussed it for, like, a minute, but then I told them I really felt the need to leave. They've asked me to stay quiet about it since I'll still be on the air for another three or four months. But then I saw that [executive producer] Ken Corday spilled the beans, so the word is out.
TV Guide Magazine: My spies tell me you gave a pretty tearful goodbye on your last day of shooting [July 16].
Davidson: Yeah, it was a very emotional speech made with a very heavy heart. The cast and crew are fantastic and, given what they are up against and how quickly they work, their attitudes and their commitment to doing a great job is unparalleled. And that has helped me do some of the best work of my life. It's been a real privilege to be there. But the speed is brutal! More often than not, I'd drive home from work feeling like I should have done better or that I wish I'd been allowed just one more take. That part of the job is very frustrating. I was doing seven or eight shows a week, with tons of dialogue and very long days, and I just couldn't keep doing that. They said, "What can we do to work around you and make it easier?" But I didn't want to do that to Days. This show is trying hard to stay on the air and they've already had to trim any and all fat and shoot the show super fast. I didn't want to be that actor who needs to be out by noon so she can pick up her kid or whatever. I don't want anyone resenting me or feeling that I'm making their work day longer or more difficult. So I let them know my feelings and they didn't fight me on it.
TV Guide Magazine: Why couldn't they consolidate all your scenes to, say, two days a week? You're gold. You are the reason to watch Days. Steve Burton has 20 days a month off at Y&R. Why couldn't Sony, which oversees both soaps, work a similar deal?
Davidson: It's just not feasible. At Days they work around other people like that and I have no bad feelings about it, but that's just not me. I don't want to keep the show from doing what it needs to do in order to stay on the air. And you can't put Kristen on the back burner because then there's no point to her. She's always got that foot on the pedal, and that's exhausting. Even when we were dark one week a month, I'd go home with 10 scripts. I was driving my son to school or taking him on outings, and always had scripts with me in the car. My stepsons are both going to be in college, as of this year, and I've been watching their lives fly by because I am at work. I needed to get off the train for a minute.