Lindsay Hartley was dumped by Days of Our Lives and her character, ex-undercover agent Arianna Hernandez, died last week from a hit and run. But shed no tears for this gal! She's moving from Salem to Pine Valley — with a stop along the way to battle Clark Kent. Starting December 8, Hartley will be seen on All My Children as Cara Finn, the former wife of Dr. Jake Martin (Ricky Paull Goldin). But first she'll appear on the November 12 episode of Smallville, where her husband, Justin Hartley, plays Green Arrow. Alas, they won't share any screen time. Mrs. Hartley will play a character based on DC Comics' Mad Harriet, an extraterrestrial nutjob with a big shock for Clark — her killer claws are charged with kryptonite! TV Guide Magazine dished with the adorable Hartley about the highs and lows of her sudsy life, and how she volunteered to go lesbian at AMC!
TV Guide Magazine: So much is happening with you! Let's start with Days. Were you surprised to get the ax?
Hartley: That was really tough. There was a period where I wasn't being used very much, where they had opportunities to go certain directions with my character and didn't, and it just wasn't happening. So I kind of had an idea that something was gonna go down. I was very happy there and still had six more weeks of work after I knew I was leaving. Every day was one day closer to the end and it made me really sad. But I got a great story on the way out and was grateful to have it.
TV Guide Magazine: This was the first time you've been fired from a TV job, right? Passions didn't really count, since the show was cancelled.
Hartley: Yeah, I guess that's right. I was devastated when Days let me go and couldn't help but feel it was my fault. What did I do wrong? What happened? It sucks. You always think it's your fault. But things came together super-duper, out-of-control fast. The confirmation for both jobs — AMC and Smallville — came through on the same day, so there was a lot of wine flowing in the Hartley house that night! [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Isn't Mad Harriet supposed to be an Amazon?
Hartley: She is! Not someone short and scrawny like me. There's not a lot of muscle to me. [Laughs] I'm not the superpower type at all. Harriet is supposed to be the leader of all these girls who kick ass — the other actresses were like acrobats in real life with these gorgeous muscular legs and I'm the leader? Any of them could kick my ass in half a second. [Laughs] I couldn't justify any of it, but I loved it! The special effects department modeled my claws after Freddy Krueger's. This is also the episode where Teri Hatcher plays Lois Lane's mom. It's very much a roots episode, all about where Lois and Tess came from. It's very cool and very eerie.
TV Guide Magazine: So did you whine and whine until Justin got you a job on his show?
Hartley: Oh my God, of course! I have always been a fan of Smallville and wanted to be on it since the show is ending this season. I don't know that I could have done this if Days hadn't let me go. I've been talking to the producers about doing something for the last couple of seasons. I'm always on the set visiting Justin.
TV Guide Magazine: You jumped on the AMC gig so quickly. Why not hold out for primetime?
Hartley: I just want to keep going with the soaps. Maybe it's because I'm just so used to them. I was 21 when I started Passions and did that for nine years. It's what I know. Justin is all about primetime and the hours and the travel. Our daughter, Bella, is six already, so I like being home every night. Sure, I'd love to be on primetime, but if I'm blessed enough to be picked up by another soap, thank God! It's so hard out there. And when you're not working you feel horrible. You don't know when you'll get the next job. You don't know how long the soap genre will be around. I want to help keep these shows on the air and keep everybody working!
TV Guide Magazine: So you pursued AMC?
Hartley: When I was told I was leaving Days, I had my management contact some of the L.A.-based soap operas. [AMC exec producer] Julie Carruthers and her casting director, Judy Wilson, wanted to meet with me. Incredible women! I was blown away by both of them. I was so open to anything and everything going in there — I even told them I'd love to do a lesbian storyline with Bianca. I came home and told Justin what I'd volunteered to do and he was, like, "All-right, babe! Let's put it out there!" Bianca [being revealed] as a lesbian was an awesome story. I'd love to be a part of that. Anyway, about a week and a half after the meeting, they called wanting to test me with Ricky Paull to see if we had chemistry. A day after the test I had the job.
TV Guide Magazine: But you'll still be giving Cara Finn a bit of a lesbian vibe, just in case?
Hartley: [Laughs] Hey, why not? I love this character. She's not a girl. I feel like she's the first truly mature woman I've had a chance to play. You find out [Cara and Jake] fell in love while working in Africa with Doctors Without Borders and they got married but something went down and Cara took off with another man. At least that's what Jake believes happened, and that's what the audience will believe. Then there's the truth, which will slowly unravel.
TV Guide Magazine: What brings her to Pine Valley?
Hartley: She shows up to try to convince Jake to return to Doctors Without Borders and the problems start. I can't say what's really going on in her life but I think it's incredibly creative and well thought out. I really dig it! And Griffin [the new character played by Jordi Vilasuso] is heavily involved as well.
TV Guide Magazine: What's his relationship to Cara?
Hartley: I'm not allowed to say. But he is the one she ran off with. It will all come out in bits and pieces over the next few months. I can't wait to be a part of AMC. I am so ready to go! I'm excited to start another chapter of my life. [Laughs] I'm just not sure about this doctor thing. When I told my best girlfriend I'd be playing a doctor, she started laughing hysterically. It is kind of ridiculous. Can you imagine me with a defibrillator? There's going to be a lot of laughter on the set.