Ever since Aiden Jennings blew into Days of our Lives' Salem last January, fans haven't known what to make of him. Is he an overworked-yet-harmless single dad trying to make the small town his new home? Or is he a sinister monster soon to prey on recently abandoned Hope (Kristian Alfonso)? It's a question that's been brewing for months, and his portrayer, Daniel Cosgrove, tells Soap Central that all will soon be revealed... though there's a chance the picture won't be pretty.
"The next few weeks for me were so much fun," Cosgrove says of the exciting and twisted cabin story that's currently playing out on air. "You don't really have any concept of where you're going [character and storyline wise]; they keep it under wraps, and I don't know if it's because they're really not quite certain, or if they just don't want you to say anything, I don't know, but as you're reading it, you're like, 'Oh my God. This is pretty crazy. Whoa - we're going here with this?!'"
As viewers have already seen, Aiden has been secretly brandishing an axe and acting crazy. But is it because he's planning on hurting Hope? And could it be possible that the story he told her about his wife - that she killed herself - is a complete lie? "There's definitely going to be some answers to why Aiden is acting really cuckoo," Cosgrove teases. "He's about to implode. He's frustrated, he's scared, and that's what he's trying to keep a lid on but not doing the best job of. And Hope is just like, 'Whoa, this is actually getting a little weird. I can only overlook so much before I have to find out what the hell is going on with you.'"
The actor explains that the more and more Hope presses him on his past and what is going on, the more and more out of control Aiden feels. "He's got feelings for this woman that he didn't expect, and... he just wants to put [the past] behind him and move on so that everything will be great, but really, it probably never would be, so he comes to terms with the fact that he's got to tell her, and that actually might be very, very bad," he explains. "The information that he gives her, it will be bad for him. He doesn't know the outcome, and that outcome scares him a lot. That's why he's so, 'Oh my God.' It's making him look crazy, and then you find out he very well may be."
In fact, Cosgrove teases that the real question isn't necessarily whether or not Aiden is a bad guy, but rather whether or not he's sane. "The next couple of weeks, we're going to walk a very fine line of is he bad, good, or just plain crazy," he says. "They kind of want to walk that line. And so there are some scenes where it's like, 'Whoa, that scene ended with crazy in his eyes.' And then it's like, 'Okay, that next scene ended with a pretty sincere smile. I think he's honest.' And I think that's the best, when someone can look you in the eye and pass a lie detector test... when you can show the vulnerability of your character and the breakdown, when subtle little things come through, I love that. That's what I love. And this material enabled me to do that."
There's no telling what kind of history Aiden has and whether or not the reveals that take place in the next two weeks will ruin any chance he has with Hope. But if the character does have a future with the cop, then fans have started expressing interest in a Bo/Hope/Aiden triangle - whether Peter Reckell is in the role of Bo or not. And Cosgrove says he's interested in the potential, as well. "I think it would be fantastic," he enthuses. "I don't know the circumstances, and I don't know Peter, but I think, and I said this when I got the job, if this story is written right, if they don't force the relationship, it could work. It just depends on how it's written. So I think [a Bo/Hope/Aiden storyline] would be great."
However, he jokes that if Bo were to return, the writing would be on the wall for Aiden. "That's an iconic couple right there, so I think everyone would put money on which way it would go," he says with a laugh. "But I would love … the story, and I'd love to do that kind of head-to-head stuff, if it were written strong."
No matter what the future has in store for Aiden, Cosgrove works hard every day to do the character, the show, and the fans justice. And his work has already started to pay off, earning him a pre-nomination in this year's Emmy race. But despite the recognition, he admits he's struggled with insecurities from time to time. "You move so quickly [in this genre]... and there was a period of time where I thought, 'Man, I did it all wrong. I did it all wrong,'" he confesses, adding that he felt these insecurities mostly after his run as Guiding Light's Bill Lewis. "I ran into Tom Pelphrey [ex-Jonathan Randall, GL] a couple of years after [the show ended], and I said, 'Dude, I did everything wrong. I played it wrong, I'm going to quit.' I gave him this [sob story]. But you know, now I'm owning it. I feel good about my choices. Acting is a rush for me -- I'm more comfortable in front of a camera than I am in real life -- so when I'm on camera or when I'm working with people, even in the hair and makeup room or in publicity, I just love it. I love the people I get to work with and the whole experience is a positive thing."
Speaking of Cosgrove's GL days, the actor says he's been seriously impressed with Gina Tognoni's work as The Young and the Restless' Phyllis. The actress played his sister, Dinah, on the now-defunct GL, and he's been a fan ever since. "She is so talented," he raves of the Emmy winner. "I was in my dressing room, watching Modern Family, and the girl who plays the wife [Julie Bowen], she kind of reminds me of Gina, and I was like, 'God, Gina could do that sort of thing.' And I was like, 'I wonder what she's doing. They should get her on this show. She'd be so good,' and then I swear to God, two days later, I heard she was on Y&R, and I thought, 'Good for her.' Because she is so good. She's one of the best in the whole genre."
Some might find it surprising that Cosgrove even had the time to notice another soap. After all, he's juggling his DAYS gig, which is on the West Coast, with a wife and four young children, who are all on the East Coast. But the actor says that luckily, he's able to spend a lot of time at home with his family. And when he isn't able to be home, he says he's fortunate to have an understanding wife. "We've known each other a very long time, and we've been together a very long time," he says of Marie, whom he married in 1997. "I have a lot of love and respect for her, and she's known me since I was waiting tables and had my phone turned off and I couldn't afford my rent. So we've been together a long time and been through a lot of stuff, and it all comes down to three simple things: love, respect, and appreciation. I think those are the core things that keep a relationship going."
Of course, Valentine's Day surprises don't hurt when they're added into the mix. And Cosgrove says it's a holiday he and Marie try to celebrate. "But with four kids and everything else, it becomes an all-family type of thing," he says with a laugh. "When we can work it out, then we try to squeeze it in there. We don't keep romance to one specific day though. We try to keep it all throughout the calendar year."
Hopefully that's a sentiment DAYS follows, as well. After all, soap fans want to see epic love and romance on their screens. But will Hope and Aiden have the chance to experience such grandeur? Cosgrove isn't allowed to say, but he does urge fans to tune in to the show to find out. "The next couple of weeks are going to be pretty wild."
Do you think Aiden really is a killer? Would you like to see a romantic future for Aiden and Hope? And what do you think about the possibility of Bo returning to Salem for a Bo/Hope/Aiden triangle? Share your thoughts in our Comments section below, on our message boards, or by click here to submit feedback.