JACK AND JEN'S
LET'S begin with Jack and Jennifer's wedding. Some fans were
disappointed that it wasn't splashier.
EFFORT TO calm fans' fears that Jack
and Jennifer's DAYS were numbered Matthew
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.
REEVES: They were expecting a real
Days of Our Lives wedding. . . that's what they were
used to. Their expectations were higher.
There's talk that your vows were cut.
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.
Fans are complaining that they haven't seen much of Jack
and Jennifer since then.
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
no point in being morose or weird about it. It's part of the business.
Did you enjoy the time off?
To be with the kids (Emily, 11, and Larry, 6)
is always the best.
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.
Many fans want Jack and Jennifer to forsake their talk show
and go back to work at The Spectator. Do you miss the newspaper?
feels like a true. . .
. . . Launching point.
It's where our [on-screen] relationship started. It's where they
do their best work.
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.
"In the House" has provided some comedic moments.
had fun. Every time we [tape a segment], we end up laughing.
WEEKLY: Any memorable
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.
She was good!
Thank you. It was terrifying, but I did it.
And I got to do the [skit] about ketchup packets. They
said, "Rip! Go for it!"
What are your thoughts on The Jack and Jennifer Campaign? They've
sent petitions to the studio demanding you get a big juicy storyline.
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.
How concerned are you about James E. Reilly's return and your future
on the show?
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.
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.
Missy, you just renewed your contract with the show, which was set
to expire in September.
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?
That's what I signed for. I'm cautiously optimistic that I will
be here for three more years (laughs).
Matt, you haven't renegotiated yet. When is your contract up?
ASHFORD: In the new
year — January or February.
Do actors get reassurances from the-powers-that-be before contract
time rolls around?
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.
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.
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!"
You've both been with Days so long. Do
you still enjoy the job and these characters?
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.
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."
What would you say to your fans?
That we appreciate their faithfulness to our characters and to keep
watching to see what is around the corner.
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
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,"
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
"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.