the ly­ing game

Greg Rikaart sug­gests that DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ Leo may be get­ting tan­gled up in his own web

ABC Soaps In Depth - - Feature Interview - — Kelli M. Lar­son with re­port­ing by Julie McEl­wain

Since joining Salem’s ranks, DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ Leo has caused quite a stir! The sexy schemer was in ca­hoots with Vi­vian to se­cure a job at Ti­tan In­dus­tries, se­duce CEO Sonny and then claim sex­ual ha­rass­ment. The end goal? To take down the com­pany built by Sonny’s great un­cle (and Vi­vian’s ex), Vic­tor! It was just the kind of sto­ry­line that Leo’s Day­time Emmy-win­ning por­trayer, Greg Rikaart, had been ea­ger to play in his long-run­ning pre­vi­ous role as THE YOUNG & THE REST­LESS’ Kevin Fisher. “I think that there are un­der-rep­re­sented peo­ple in this coun­try that watch TV and want to see their sto­ries told,” says the out ac­tor. “So that’s why I’d ad­vo­cated for that for Kevin and why I’m grate­ful that I got that op­por­tu­nity here.”

Naughty… And Nice?

It didn’t take much for Leo to bed boss man Sonny, who’d been left emo­tion­ally adrift fol­low­ing the one-two punch of his di­vorce from Will and break-up with fi­ancé Paul. How­ever, be­ing a stand-up guy, Sonny ended the re­la­tion­ship as quickly as it be­gan upon learn­ing that his rebound lover was a Ti­tan em­ployee. Of course, be­ing that Leo was in ca­hoots with a whip-crack­ing Vi­vian, he couldn’t com­pletely back off! “It’s re­ally fun to try and find the hu­man­ity in some­one who’s do­ing bad things,” says the con­niver’s por­trayer, “and even if it’s not por­trayed by way of di­a­logue, to — at least in my prepa­ra­tion — jus­tify the be­hav­ior so that I’m not judg­ing the char­ac­ter and what he’s do­ing.”

Is Leo Fall­ing For Sonny?

For the con man, part of that hu­man­ity might be in­ad­ver­tently de­vel­op­ing real feel­ings for his mark. “Fred­die Smith’s por­trayal of Sonny is so charm­ing and lov­able,” Rikaart sug­gests, “that Leo would have to be a ro­bot to not be taken in by him.” Might Vi­vian’s un­ex­pected demise be just the win­dow of op­por­tu­nity Leo needs to pur­sue Sonny hon­estly?

Now that Kate’s look­ing to take up his leash, the dog isn’t likely to be given his free­dom any­time soon! “I think Leo mo­men­tar­ily feels re­lief,” Rikaart shares. “But that’s short-lived be­cause he thinks he’s got a way out, and he quickly

dis­cov­ers that he does not.”

Folks who have been around Salem for a while know that Kate can be ev­ery bit as wicked as was her long­time en­emy, Vi­vian! “Yeah,” Rikaart agrees, “that’s Leo’s ex­pe­ri­ence with her.”

Ready, Set… Act!

As view­ers know, DAYS plot­lines can turn on a dime, and the pro­duc­tion pace is break­neck. “I thought it was such a well-oiled ma­chine at Y&R,” says Rikaart, “and it is — don’t get me wrong.

“But at DAYS,” he con­tin­ues, “it was even a step above that. They move re­ally fast here!”

For­tu­nately, Rikaart, who shares a 23-month-old son with hus­band Robert Sud­duth, has a happy house­hold to shake off the stress with. “There were days when I’d come home, and Rob would say, ‘How was work? Was it good?’” the ac­tor shares. “And I’d be like, ‘I don’t know! I think so. I blinked, and it was over!’”

Be­fore be­ing cast, “I knew of them, for sure, but I had never met” the ac­tors in the Sonny/Will/Paul love tri­an­gle, Rikaart con­fesses. “I was re­ally grate­ful to get to work with them.”

Where Leo’s con­cerned, “Sonny, es­pe­cially be­ing vul­ner­a­ble, is cer­tainly in some danger,” Rikaart says.

Leo’s scheme is “evil, but it’s clever!” Rikaart laughs. “Un­like the sto­ries you hear about in the news, this is one where the ‘vic­tim’ isn’t re­ally the vic­tim!”

“As a gay man, it’s fun to play a gay char­ac­ter” like Leo, en­thuses the Emmy win­ner, with hus­band Robert. “I was ex­cited about that.”

His Long­time Cause: The Gay Les­bian Straight Ed­u­ca­tion Net­work (www.glsen.org). Re­mem­ber When? In 2008, Rikaart shared scenes with Eden Riegel (Bianca, ALL MY CHIL­DREN) on the dig­i­tal series, IMAG­I­NARY BITCHES. Will He Run? “At this stage of the...

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