matthew ashford homepage articles

Soap Opera Weekly
IN AN EFFORT TO calm fans' fears that Jack and Jennifer's DAYS were numbered Matthew Ashford
and Melissa Reeves sat down with SOAP OPERA WEEKLY to ruminate on their characters' futures.
But sadly, despite a well-organized web site (Salem's Most Wanted: The Jack and Jennifer Campaign)
rallying support for the duo, Ashford received his walking papers shortly after this interview. Here it is
nonetheless — at last parting gift from Ashford and Reeves for the faithful.
WEEKLY:  LET'S begin with Jack and Jennifer's wedding. Some fans were disappointed that it wasn't splashier.

MELISSA REEVES: They were expecting a real Days of Our Lives wedding. . . that's what they were used to. Their expectations were higher.

WEEKLY:  There's talk that your vows were cut.

REEVES: Just the main part of my vows. When they cut them I was disappointed, but I thought, "Obviously, there's a good reason." There are [often] scenes that you love, but because of time purposes, they have to be cut. I was laughing, because Jennifer was running around going, "I can't forget my vows!" Matt and I were joking that Jennifer said her vows during the commercial break.

ASHFORD: The fact is, it was a big show. We were a part of that show. Everybody watches for different reasons. There were some people who were tuning in that day to see what was going on with other characters. People who have followed [Jack and Jennifer], of course, wanted to see more rather than less.

WEEKLY:  Fans are complaining that they haven't seen much of Jack and Jennifer since then.

SOW Aug 03, Matt leavesREEVES: We worked, like, one day in June. It's a bummer. You want to be working, but there are 30 other people on the show that have to work, too. Sometimes you're in the main part of it. Sometimes you're not.

ASHFORD: There's no point in being morose or weird about it. It's part of the business.

WEEKLY:  Did you enjoy the time off?

REEVES: To be with the kids (Emily, 11, and Larry, 6) is always the best.

ASHFORD: My parents had their 50th wedding anniversary, so I went back to Virginia Beach for a party and spent time with them.

REEVES: I went back to New Jersey to see my family, too.

WEEKLY:  Many fans want Jack and Jennifer to forsake their talk show and go back to work at The Spectator. Do you miss the newspaper?

REEVES: That feels like a true. . .

ASHFORD: . . . Launching point.

REEVES: It's where our [on-screen] relationship started. It's where they do their best work.

ASHFORD: The newspaper allowed for more getting out and adventuring. We're the only ones that do that. There are a lot of crime fighters out there, but there aren't any people who want to get inside a story, be a part of it.

WEEKLY: Yet "In the House" has provided some comedic moments.

REEVES: We've had fun. Every time we [tape a segment], we end up laughing.

WEEKLY: Any memorable highlights?

REEVES: I sang Mack the Knife with Bart (Steve Blackwood). You know those things you do only in from of your husband and kids in the security of your own home? I've now done it on television. I felt like I was naked.

ASHFORD: She was good!

REEVES: Thank you. It was terrifying, but I did it.

ASHFORD: And I got to do the [skit] about ketchup packets. They said, "Rip! Go for it!"

WEEKLY: What are your thoughts on The Jack and Jennifer Campaign? They've sent petitions to the studio demanding you get a big juicy storyline.

REEVES: It's incredible that fans are hanging on and supporting our characters. I'm shocked that as little as they have seen us — and not to the full potential that Matt and I are capable — that they're still rooting for us. That's amazing.

WEEKLY: How concerned are you about James E. Reilly's return and your future on the show?

REEVES: There's been a lot of change, and change always makes people [wonder]. Jim is a storyteller. He's going to look at his palate of actors and weave his story. You know who our characters is and what your character can offer to a story, and you just hope that you're part of it. It's wonderful that the show makes changes to the move in a positive direction. If that means changing writers or actors, they need to do what is best for the show.

WEEKLY: Matt, you left the show under Reilly's regime lat time around.

ASHFORD: I don't know if Jim was a major part of that or not. He is one of a small group of real storytellers. He has enormous imagination and ability to write. I'm glad he's coming back. It's going to be good for the show. We'll see if we fit in. Jack and Jennifer are unusual characters. We haven't done anything of that otherworldly nature. I'd love to take a whack at it. Missy and I could do that. I hope Jim sees that. I am cautiously optimistic. What's the point of being negative or fearful? We can't control it.

WEEKLY: Missy, you just renewed your contract with the show, which was set to expire in September.

REEVES: It was an easy decision. People always say, "Why don't you try to do other things?" I love the pace [of daytime]. I love the challenge. I love the hours. It's one of the greatest jobs.

WEEKLY: So we can look for to three more years of Jennifer?

REEVES: That's what I signed for. I'm cautiously optimistic that I will be here for three more years (laughs).

WEEKLY: Matt, you haven't renegotiated yet. When is your contract up?

ASHFORD: In the new year — January or February.

WEEKLY: Do actors get reassurances from the-powers-that-be before contract time rolls around?

REEVES: This is the entertainment industry. It is not an easy life. "Let us pet you to make you feel like you're going to be here." The bottom line is, it's a business.

ASHFORD: I worked with Mary Stuart on Search for Tomorrow, who was Jo, the matriarch, for the entire 35 years. She was asked, "To what do you attribute your longevity on this show?" She took one beat and said, "I never overprice myself." She always knew her worth and she never let her idea of her monetary value exceed that.She always kept smart about it.

REEVES: I remember having this dance teacher in New York named Phil Black. He was training people who were in Broadway shows. He would look at some of the best dancers and say, "You know what? You're dispensable. Don't think that you're not." Everybody is replaceable. You can't ever think, "Oh! They'll never get rid of me. I'm so important to the show!"

WEEKLY: You've both been with Days so long. Do you still enjoy the job and these characters?

REEVES: Matt and I have an exceptional friendship. I didn't see him for years, then, when he came back to the show and we started working together, it was like [we'd never stopped]. That's rare. We have a great working relationship. I'm thankful to have that every day. We always end up laughing. It's like working with my brother, except I have to kiss him sometimes, which is really gross — although many women would disagree.

ASHFORD: After doing this, going away, trying other things and working on other shows, this character, and working within Days of Our Lives, has been one of the most enjoyable experiences in my career. It's a rare thing to find somebody you can work with, work off of, and have fun with. The fact that the writers and producers have give us the opportunity to mold these characters into something that is not everyday has been a pleasure. I talk to other actors who've watched us from other shows and they're like, "Wow! We want to do what you guys are doing."

WEEKLY: What would you say to your fans?

REEVES: That we appreciate their faithfulness to our characters and to keep watching to see what is around the corner.

ASHFORD: The support goes both ways. I'm glad we've given them a lot of enjoyment, but they i turn give us enjoyment. They give us the energy to say, "Yeah, we can do this. We are capable. It really is funny," These fans have continued to have passionate energy for our characters, and for that we say, "Thank you and bless you." By Janet Di Lauro
Ashford Out

WHILE A SPOKESPERSON FOR DAYS OF OUR LIVES issues a firm "no comment," Matthew Ashford's age, Doug Warner, confirms that, as reported last week, his client has indeed been handed his walking papers, "We were notified by the production company of Days of Our Lives that after September Matt Ashford would no longer be portraying the role of Jack on the show," states Warner.

Ashford, who joined Days in 1987, was written off the show in 1993 by James E. Reilly, who recently returned to the soap. Ashford reprised the role of Jack in 2001 under then-writer/executive producer Tom Langan.

Although Ashford's contract was not set to expire until early 2004, he was informed on July that his option with the show would not be picked up.

News of Ashford's dismissal rocked cast members, who are still reeling from James Reynolds'
(Abe) firing last month. "Everyone is waling on eggshells. Morale is down," whispers one setsider, adding that "nobody feels safe."

"It's a very tense time around here," says an actress. "Nobody knows what is going on."

"There are a lot of changes happening on this show," adds another Days star. "You never know who is going to make it out alive!"

Ashford's camp, however, is optimistic about the future. "Matt has a lot of fans out there," assures Warner. "We're sure that the will find him on another show very soon.
photos photos photos photos photos photos

SOW Aug 03, Matt let go

Matt & Missy, J/J reunited Feb. 01


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