Outlets covering gay entertainment news and those covering soap operas had plenty to write about Fri., Aug. 23, when, in a surprise move, two-time Emmy winner Chandler Massey announced that he had filmed his last scenes as Will Horton on the venerable NBC sudser Days of our Lives.
AFTERGLOW. Sonny Kiriakis (Emmy nominee Freddie Smith, right) will find a strange new bedfellow in the new year when an as yet unannounced new actor takes over the role of partner Will Horton (double Emmy winner Chandler Massey, left) on the NBC daytime drama Days of Our Lives.
The 22-year-old Massey had announced his intentions to leave the role earlier this year when he won his second consecutive Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actor. He has said that he intends to finish college, which was interrupted during his freshman year when he won the role of Will Horton on DOOL.
“I’m done. It’s bittersweet, Massey is quoted as saying on The Backlot. “These four years have been so amazing I’ve built a family here. I’m so grateful to NBC and everyone for these amazing four years. It’s been my privilege and honor to work there.”
Massey was let out of his contract several months early for a variety or reasons. While originally saying that they would not recast the role, producers have now indicated that storylines have dictated a recast.
While many current fans of the show have taken to social media decrying the decision to recast, Massey — the fifth actor to play the role — has been vocal in his support of a recast for some time.
“I think it’s a good move [to recast],” Massey said in The Backlot piece. “I’m biased because I fell in love with Will and Sonny and I want Will and Sonny to be together.”
I agree with him. I fell in love with them, too. But, recasts have always been a part of the life of a continuing drama. After all, excluding babies, 12 actors assayed the part of Tom Hughes on As The World Turns from 1960 until Scott Holmes became “lucky 13” in 1987, staying with the role until the series ended in 2010. There’s hardly a role on a soap that has not been played by another actor at one time or another.
There’s no doubt about it: I will miss Massey, but I do believe that it’s more important that DOOL continue to tell this story and I hope a recast indicates that they tend to do just that.
There are plenty of young people, struggling with their sexuality that need to see other young gay people in a committed relationship to show them that it can be done — insane gunmen, unintended pregnancies, annoying and sometime borderline psychotic parents, drug dealing cousins, perjury, hot architects and Stefano DiMera aside — and that you can come home each night to the loving embrace of Sonny Kiriakis and his fabulous hair.
Thanks, Mr. Massey, for sharing your gifts with us. Your impact on the landscape has been indelible.
Because of DAYS’ shooting schedule, Massey will likely be seen as Will through December.
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