Forget running off to Vegas or trips to Tahiti. If you want real excitement this summer, you might want to tune in to watch Philip Kiriakis (John-Paul Lavoisier; ex-Rex Balsam, One Life to Live) on Days of our Lives. Not only will the recently returned businessman suffer a broken heart and continue to butt heads with his power hungry father, Victor (John Aniston), he'll soon be running smack dab into his ex, Chloe (Nadia Bjorlin) -- and the flames will certainly make this season a scorcher.
Hungry for more scoop about Philip's life in the coming weeks? soapcentral.com spoke with Lavoisier for all the juicy details.
soapcentral.com: Your OLTL fans were thrilled when it was announced you'd joined DAYS. How has the ride been for you? Does it feel like nothing has changed since you left daytime, or is it a totally different world now?
John-Paul Lavoisier: Well, it's a totally different place. DAYS and One Life are quite different. But I'm just shocked I can memorize all of those words again. I don't know how we do it, I really don't.
soapcentral.com: Was it a struggle when you first started, or were you able to pick back up where you left off with your memorization skills?
Lavoisier: I've always been a fan of memorizing things for fun, just to keep my brain [strong]. Plus, during the three and a half years I wasn't in daytime, I was still auditioning for other stuff and picking up other gigs here and there, so I was still having to memorize, just not to the soap extent. When I did the screen test for DAYS, I got my scene really, really far ahead of time, and I just went over it and over it and over it and over it. I must have gone over it a thousand times, and doing that got the muscle reworked. It's kind of like riding a bike, but I'm still surprised.
soapcentral.com: In an interview you did with soapcentral.com's founder, Dan Kroll, when you first joined the show, you were surprised to find out that Philip is technically only about 20 years old. Is there anything else you've been surprised to find out about him now that you're learning more and more?
Lavoisier: I did learn that he's an ex-Marine. I knew that he had a fake leg. I knew that he was in the war. John Aniston would joke with me early on when I first started the show, "You know you've got a fake leg? So maybe limp every now and then." [Laughs] But I just never considered that he was maybe also a bad ass. I was like, "Okay, he went to a war and lost his leg." But if he's supposed to be some kind of Marine, I feel like he'd be a little bit more manly than maybe me. Perhaps I should have gained 40 more pounds of muscle and shaved my head, I don't know. [Laughs] So I've been playing it a little more businessman, and I forget there's an ex-Marine background to him that I don't pepper in nearly as much as I should. It won't air for 18 years, but the other day, I filmed a scene with Brady [Eric Martsolf] that was very standoffish. There was a fight, and he was definitely much more of a Marine than I was!
soapcentral.com: Well, other than the fact that he may or may not be able to whoop some butt, what are some of your favorite things about Philip?
Lavoisier: Well, I'll tell ya, as opposed to Rex, the thing that I do enjoy about Philip, I'm a big fan of a movie called Glengarry Glen Ross. It was a play in the 80s, a movie in the early 90s, and it's basically my second favorite movie. I love the dialogue, and it's all about businessmen and salesmen and lying and cheating and stealing. I can quote it [really well]; I know 99.9% of the words. It's great dialogue, so the night before I have business scenes with John or with Vincent [Irizarry, Deimos] or even Brady, I'll watch a little bit of Glengarry. Or even in my dressing room, I'll watch some Glengarry clips, just to sort of get myself into character. Philip is apparently 20, but I'm trying to play him [older], because he's in the Kiriakis family business, and I'm in a suit quite often. I've really tried to use my Glengarry knowledge to bring to Philip a more adult way of speaking clearly and posturing and carrying himself. As opposed to Rex, I mean obviously I was younger -- I was in my 20s at the time -- and Rex was more boyish. Rex grew up a lot toward the end, because he had to due to storylines and characters and his kid and things like that. But with Philip, every now and then I'll try to play boyish type stuff maybe with Belle [Martha Madison], the lovey dovey things, but for the most part, I'm trying to be just a more grown-up guy with Philip. Somebody who can stand up next to Victor and fit in.
soapcentral.com: Speaking of Belle, the Belle/Philip/Shawn [Brandon Beemer] story really took fans down memory lane. Were you surprised by the way the story turned out, with Belle and Shawn most likely sailing off into the sunset together?
Lavoisier: Listen, nothing surprise me anymore. With anything! There are so many changes happening all the time. Hey, I'm the third or fourth Philip, so who knows. You really never know, and there are constant behind-the-scenes politics and changes going on, and the on-screen stuff is affected by what goes on off screen. So nothing surprises me. I think the only thing that surprises me, if I had to pick something, would be that because Belle, Shawn, and Philip have such a history, they go way, way back -- and I had never been there, John-Paul, so nobody owes me anything -- but for Brandon and Martha, I was a little surprised because I thought there should have been a little more on-screen stuff for us. There could have been a little bit more triangulation going on. But there's a lot of story, there are a lot of actors, and there is a lot of stuff to get shuffled around. Decisions get made, and there it is. But I will say, I love Martha. And if Brandon did it for me, I tell ya, I'd be the luckiest guy in the world. I'd marry Brandon in a second! He's one of the few guys that I've spoken to that I really feel like I'm talking to a mirror. Him and I, we have all the same beliefs about money and life and living. We don't hang out nearly as much [as I'd like], so it would have been nice to work with them more. However, it could happen.
soapcentral.com: If they're listening to fans, there's a chance they could be brought back.
Lavoisier: Martha used to say, "Well, I've been fired from this show twice, so you never know!"
soapcentral.com: Can you tease how Belle and Shawn's departure will affect Philip? Well, I guess he won't care that Shawn is leaving, but he is losing Belle.
Lavoisier: [Laughs] Yeah, I'll tell ya, it's so brief. You'll have to pause and slow-mo my reaction. It affects me, but you're only going to see if for like two seconds! Yeah, he doesn't care about Shawn leaving, but as a man, Philip is a bit gut-punched, because Belle is leaving town with another guy. She has chosen this guy over him. His manhood [takes a blow]. He finds out through other people. Belle and I actually have a nice scene -- well it wasn't nice, but as actors, it was nice -- we have a scene where her and I agree that we're not going to be business partners anymore, that we're going to dissolve the record label that we were trying to have together. It's not a goodbye, but it turns out it will be our goodbye, because it's our last scene together. The scene is, "We're not going to do this company together, sign this, let's be free and clear of money, blah, blah, blah." He does sort of wish her well with Shawn, like, "Okay, you wanna be with him, fine." But it's not a see you on the other side kind of thing. It's not a "have a nice life," it's just a "let's sign this so we're business clear." But it does turn out to be a goodbye, because that is the last time I see her. And then they leave town, and I find out through other people that they've left. And when I find out, I'm very hurt. But again, it's only for a fraction of a moment. Things move fast sometimes with these stories, and there's not that much time of him being sad. He does not beat himself against the wall for months.
soapcentral.com: He moves on! The silver lining of having Belle out of the picture is that Chloe is back in town!
Lavoisier: Well, nothing heals a broken heart like a new love -- that's an old love [laughs]. And how can you not fall in love with Chloe when you look at her? Whether it's for the first time or the fifth time. Chloe is right around the corner.
soapcentral.com: What do you think about Nadia? You've known her for quite a few years now, right? If memory serves me, you two had some run-ins on the E! Entertainment reality series Dirty Soap.
Lavoisier: We didn't really do much [together], but we were on the same program. I've known Nadia for years, I mean, technically since I started in soaps in '01 or '02, just through the grapevine and seeing each other at events and stuff... [Farah Fath, ex-Mimi Lockhart, and I] used to host poker games at her house sometimes. I'd never been friends with her, just acquaintances and stuff. But now working together, we've learned a little bit more about each other. She's great. She's just an easygoing person.
soapcentral.com: Given the latest storyline teases, with Deimos and Chloe becoming closer, do you think a Chloe/Philip/Deimos triangle could be possible?
Lavoisier: I think so, yeah. We'll see!
soapcentral.com: Personally, I'd love to see that. What does it feel like for you to be batting the ball with John Aniston and Vincent Irizarry on a daily basis? These guys are veterans.
Lavoisier: You know, if I think too much about John Aniston, I won't be able to work. So I just think, "That's Victor, that's my dad." If I think of the actual reality of working with John, I might crumble. So I try to put that aside so I can hold my own. But John is just so funny, and we sit there and talk, and he throws out the occasional joke. I have always enjoyed talking to older people. People who are 70 and older, I can sit and talk to them [for hours]. My grandmother was my favorite relative. I love going to coffee shops and listening to old men sit around with their coffee and paper and yap in the morning about this or that. I'm an old soul, so I feel so at home sitting with John Aniston. I say, "Just tell me stories, John!" And he used to live in New York, and I'll run lines with him in his dressing room, and I always try to get one New York story out of him. Like, "Oh, my rent was 70 bucks a month," or, "I lived in a 16-story walk-up," or, "I was on Broadway." I just love hearing those stories. I'm at peace. I just sit with John, and I'm at peace and I'm happy.
soapcentral.com: I'm fairly certain you said something similar to me back when we were both working in New York, about loving talking with older people. And it must have been about Robert S. Woods [ex-Bo Buchanan, OLTL].
Lavoisier: Yeah, probably. John's my Bob! [Laughs] As for Vincent, I've been a fan of Vincent because I grew up watching All My Children, and then when I was at One Life, they were our sister soap down the street, so I used to see Vincent all the time. He was on that show for so long. And with Vincent, I know Philip hates him, but I feel like I know him. I've been watching Vincent for so long, and now I'm standing next to him, and because we used to do a lot of ABC events together, like Super Soap Weekend, I don't know Vincent but I feel like I know Vincent. I'm very comfortable working with him. I've probably watched more of Vincent than I've watched of myself! Just from seeing him on All My Children. It's just fun.
soapcentral.com: I feel like Philip has been working for quite a long time to make amends with Victor. Why do you think they're having such a tough time burying the hatchet?
Lavoisier: I have to just assume it's because they're both such hotheaded guys with short fuses. Philip is willing to man down, but they're just too alike. What I want to say is that it makes for more interesting story, that they just keep punching each other. But that's not the actor's answer. Maybe they can't let go of their business, corporate, winning the sale attitudes. Neither one of them wants to lose the deal, and by softening, it's like they're being less of, well, they're just too much alike. They're not used to giving.
soapcentral.com: In the grand scheme of things, we see that Philip has a beat of a broken heart, then he turns his focus to business and trying to make amends with Victor, and then Chloe pops back up in his life. So a lot of change for Philip in the weeks ahead! Is there anything else you can tease for what might happen to him this summer?
Lavoisier: I guess it would be that it seems as though Philip never got Chloe completely out of his system. And she's a hell of a singer, and you know he's got that company. So we'll see!
What do you think about the way Belle and Philip's latest fling ended? How do you feel about a possible romantic reunion between Philip and Chloe? Are you liking Lavoisier in his new role? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.