Christie Clark and Patrick Muldoon Dish on Their Return to Days of Our Lives
Patrick Muldoon, Christie Clark
September 26 can't get here fast enough! The highly anticipated romantic reboot of NBC's Days of Our Lives will not only see the return of fan faves Deidre Hall (Marlena), Drake Hogestyn (John) and Matt Ashford (Jack) but also a wildly popular, much-missed duo we haven't seen together on screen in 16 years — Christie Clark (Carrie) and Patrick Muldoon (Austin). Now a wife and mom living in San Francisco, Clark joined Days as a teen in 1986 and played Carrie on and off until 2006, earning two Daytime Emmy nods. She returned to the soap in 2010 for the death of matriarch Alice Horton and was seen in a brief cameo early this year. Muldoon joined Days in 1992 and played Austin for three years before exiting for a career in film (the sci-fi hit Starship Troopers) and primetime (Melrose Place). TV Guide Magazine corralled the two stars for their first joint interview since being paged back to Salem. Get ready for a double dose of adorable!
TV Guide Magazine: It was an unexpected delight to hear you two were coming back. How'd this happen?
Clark: I was in Los Angeles to shoot for one day on Days last December and Pat and I were supposed to meet up for dinner the night before — and he flaked on me! [Laughs] I remember thinking, "You L.A. people are all alike!" But he felt bad and said, "Look, I'll meet you anywhere you want! I'll even come to the studio while you're working and we can get together there." I ended up inviting Ali Sweeney [Sami] to join us because we have so many fond memories of working together. Ali started Tweeting that she was having lunch with us in the NBC commissary and that got internet rumors started that we were coming back to the show. And from there it just sort of took off.
Muldoon: Well, that's not how I remember it. I didn't flake. And it wasn't dinner. We were supposed to have drinks and Christie's plane was late.
Clark: See, this is why we work so well together. We're like a husband and wife!
Muldoon: Also at that same lunch, Ali had Marnie Saitta, the Days casting director, come down and say hi to us.
Clark: And the two of them asked Pat if he'd ever come back to daytime and it was the first time in 15 years that he said yes! I almost fell off my chair.
Muldoon: And a couple of months later we got a call.
TV Guide Magazine: In addition to currently starring on 53 different TV shows, Sweeney is now playing agent, too?
Clark: She's good at that! She's quite the businesswoman these days.
Muldoon: Ali definitely opened the door for this to happen. That girl had a plan!
TV Guide Magazine: So, Pat, what finally made you give in?
Muldoon: It was the perfect offer at the perfect time. I'd spent five or six years working with my band, The Sleeping Masses, and thought for sure we were going to be these giant rock stars. [Laughs] But we ended up singing in bars in London and selling like a total of three CDs. Finally I came to the realization that there are only so many 40-year-old rock sensations out there, know what I mean? And the movies I've been doing, although I'm grateful and happy for the work, were often science fiction and I got tired of flying off to wherever to kill space aliens. Just to be able to act again on a soap every day is a dream.
TV Guide Magazine: Hey, don't be putting down Ice Spiders! It's a classic!
Clark: Ooh, I don't know about that one, Pat. [Laughs] I'll have to put it on my Netflix queue!
TV Guide Magazine: Is it surreal to be back together after all this time?
Muldoon: Not really because I've stayed great friends with Christie all these years, even after she moved to San Francisco with her husband, Tom. There's nobody I'd rather jump back into soaps with.
Clark: And Days has hardly changed. We're reporting to the same studio, walking down the same hallways. We're visiting all those same little places where we used to get into trouble when we were kids, like the prop room, though I can't say anything more about that. [They both laugh hysterically]
TV Guide Magazine: How is it to adjust to the realities of time? You two were once the young ones on the show. Now kids who weren't even born back then are old enough to vote.
Clark: But we still feel young at heart. And Pat still hasn't grown up.
Muldoon: Now we're supposedly the adults but I notice that Christie and I keep gravitating to the kids on the show — Molly Burnett [Melanie], Chandler Massey [Will] and that whole bunch. On the set, we're hanging with them rather than the people our own age.
Clark: [Laughs] They're probably, like, "Who are these old geezers trying to mix it up with us?" But we don't care.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you have to explain to them who you are?
Clark: No, we just sort of ignore their quizzical looks and get on with it.
Muldoon: I'm too busy trying to figure out who Austin is! Since he and Carrie left the show, they moved to Switzerland and he became a businessman, so it's like Austin became an adult and I didn't! I've had to research everything that went on with the character after I stopped playing him and Austin Peck took over. Plus, I have a new mom. When I was on Days before, Kate was played by Deborah Adair and now it's Lauren Koslow. [Laughs] And, by the way, my new mom is sooo hot!
TV Guide Magazine: In your heyday, the soaps had great success creating supercouples. Now they're increasingly rare. What happened to romance?
Clark: I don't know, but it's sure not the same anymore. Maybe we're living life at too fast a pace these days.
Muldoon: Maybe, but at the end of the day people still want connection. They want relationships with integrity. Carrie and Austin were your basic Romeo and Juliet story, and there's always an appetite for that kind of love. Christie and I were only together on screen for a couple of years but it was written so well that people still remember it and it made a strong enough impact that they wanted to bring us back together. I'm so grateful for that.
Clark: The other day I was watching some scenes on YouTube from when I first started on Days and the show had all these lovely, uplifting romantic storylines, full of the simplest day-to-day stuff. It was about real people dealing with the real things in life and it was all so intriguing that I wanted to see more! The new writers are doing an excellent job of getting back to those kinds of storylines. And they're really nailing the characters again. Hope is sassy, John is clever, everyone is the way you remember them and loved them. Nobody's suddenly turning into a hooker. We're getting back to the foundation of the characters and what made them unique.
TV Guide Magazine: Besides staying in touch with each other, have you remained tight with others in the cast?
Muldoon: For me not so much, but being back it's like no time has passed at all. When I first saw Kristian Alfonso [Hope] in the makeup room, she looked at me and said, "Welcome home." I kinda lost it a little bit. It was very emotional.
Clark: I've stayed friends with all my lovers on the show.
Muldoon: Once you go to bed with Christie, you don't forget it!
Clark: [Laughs] Yeah, and you wanna stick around!
TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of sticking around, Carrie and Austin will return to Salem for the dedication of the new town square. What makes them drop everything in their lives and decide to stay there? Whatever it is, it must be huge.
Muldoon: It is, but we can't talk about it yet! At first it's all about romance and family but soon the conflict and the drama begin in a huge way. Salem has a surprise for us that keeps us there.
TV Guide Magazine: Christie, you've been living a normal life away from the chaos and craziness of show biz. Any qualms about returning?
Clark: Not at all. I'd always dreamed that Days would ask me back. Now, one minute I'm taking care of kids and doing laundry and dealing with diapers, the next I'm flying down to L.A. and getting into hair and makeup and wardrobe and kissing a really cute guy. I'm going to do my damndest to make it all happen. Days has helped out so much by giving me a great schedule that makes juggling my real world and my fantasy world pretty workable. It's so workable I'm pinching myself.
TV Guide Magazine: Soaps used to be hot and healthy. Now they're an endangered species. Discuss.
Muldoon: It's a much greater challenge these days. Back then we weren't thinking about survival at all. Now we're making every minute count.
Clark: So many people say, "I started watching Days with my mom and my grandma." It'd be nice if we could get back to that warm, fuzzy tradition where our fans are getting the next generation hooked. We have to make that happen.
Muldoon: It's like being on a sports team. We're all, like, let's make our show the best! Let's make people want to watch us and cheer us on! We don't take anything for granted. It will require a real family effort to keep Days on TV but we're determined to make it happen. That's why this whole experience is so emotionally charged for Christie and me. We knew coming back to this gig would be special. We just didn't know how special.
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