Jensen Ackles if fast becoming one of the strongest young leading men in daytime. His good looks and immediate ease DAYSí Eric Brady, along with his ability to speak volumes with his body language, make him a standout newcomer. For demonstrating true muscle with in-your-face confrontations, he 19-year-old actor earns Soap Opera Magazineís STAR OF THE WEEK honors.
"I loved him instantly," says Deidre Hall (Marlena), who plays Ericís mother. "Heís clever, funny, slight outrageous, yet respectful. Heís sweet, confident and boyish. The crew loved him before we rolled tape on his first scene. We knew this guy was solid."
Confrontations between Eric and Stefano have been exciting to watch. "Iím going up against the heavy hitters now!" says Ackles. But being "mean" to Marlena was difficult because "sheís been so nice to me," he adds. Still, Ackles managed to hold his own. During one scene, he proved Hall to turn and ad-lib, "Lower your voice!" When Eric couldnít get Marlena to forget John, the resourceful young man told John to back off. "John was a major part of Ericís upbringing," Ackles explains. "Now I tell him to get out of our lives!" But John has continued to stand in the way. "Eric had to be strong with John. Itís the only way to make his point," emphasizes Ackles. But behind the scenes, Ackles has a much different relationship with his co-star. "Drake (Hogestyn, John) is my hero," he says.
"Jensen is a rare find," Hogestyn notes. "As an actor, heís at ease with himself, has great instincts and it coachable. He comes prepared and has a healthy respect for his castmates and the profession. That respect is returned to him. Heís an all-around good kid. I forsee a long, successful career in this business---hopefully, right here in Salem."
Eileen Davidson (Kristen), "the queen of new ideas," as Ackles calls her, keeps him on his toes as well. "Sheíll save something for tape that she hasnít done in rehearsal," says Ackles. "It makes a scene with her so special. Kristen will play with Ericís tie or button his jacket while talking, and Ericís reaction is, ĎWhat are you doing," Ackles explains. "Then Iíll take her hands and knock them away."
Some of the hardest scenes for both Ackles and his character have involved lying to Roman. On the flip side, some of the characterís most touching moments came in monologues as Roman was near death. "I envy his (read) dad!" enthuses Josh Taylor (Roman). "(Ackles) is very mature, humble, a hard worker and a pleasure to be around. He has a knack for acting. Now if only he were good-looking..." the veteran actor teases.
Ackles likes that "Eric doesnít stand down to anyone" but bemoans that Eric is "afraid to show any personal weaknesses." Thereís a secret Eric has carried with him from Denver, but not even the actor knows what it is. Hall reminds, "Thereís so much more than we are seeing. We havenít yet seen romantic, flirtatious, giddy, incredibly tender scenes. When he hits his stride emotionally with the range, the spectrum he has at his fingertips, there will be no stopping him."
Several of Ericís female friends from Denver are scheduled to arrive in Salem soon. Weíll be watching.