If you need proof that age is just a number, look no further than Bill Hayes. The 96-year-old actor is in the middle of Days of our Lives’ wild possession storyline – his kind alter ego, Doug Williams, is in a battle with the devil – and he’s driving it like a pro. It’s been a good time for Hayes, who loves being back in the daytime limelight. Below, he talks to Soap Hub and reflects on the plot twist he never saw coming.
Bill Hayes On His Days of our Lives’ Storyline
As a viewer, it looks like you’re really enjoying this.
Bill Hayes: “I’ve had a few killer lines. (Laughs) It’s always wonderful to be in a long arching, front-burner storyline.
It’s been a long time since you’ve had story like this. Did the show come to you first, tell you what they were planning, and ask if you’d want to be a part of it?
They did. Our producer, Albert Alarr, called me and told me they would like to do the storyline and would I be amenable to and happy to be a part of it. I said, “Absolutely. I immediately said yes.” I thought it would be an interesting and challenging story. I love the fact that they started it by making it appear that Doug had lost his marbles…or, at least, going into some kind of dementia. The poor guy. Nobody will listen to him now.
Were you concerned about the amount of the material or have they kept it to where it’s manageable for you?
Well, it’s been challenging – at least the scenes where Doug is sometimes himself and sometimes the demon is speaking [through] him. But Deidre Hall [Marlena] is such a good actress. She makes it as easy as possible. And I have a son [Bill], who has a Ph.D. and has been a therapist and counselor. He has dealt with many multiple personalities that take over a person and also [counseled people who have] dealt with demons. He tells me that with God on your side, you have no fear. I went with his feeling. In fact, the producers and writers spoke to my son. They wanted the story to be as real as possible.
Did you contact Deidre, when you learned you’d be working so closely with her?
I did call her. When we saw the scenes and read the lines, we realized the depth of it. It’s really a deep subject, like when the demon took over and threatened her and said, “You will let me into you, or I will make sure that Doug suffers.” Marlena and Doug have a close relationship. That scene was well written I thought.
What was it like watching those first scenes back, when the storyline began to air?
It was a killer watching all the weird things that Doug did that were not natural for him – locking Julie in the freezer, calling Roman, John…And, oh boy, when he said, “Who the heck is Alice?”
What’s been the response from family and friends watching this?
They can’t believe that the demon invaded Doug and what has been coming out of him. He’s always been such a positive character.
Bill Hayes On The Hardest Scenes To Film
So far, what’s been the most fun for you?
I would say the scenes where Doug is possessed and says those things [to Marlena] about locking Julie in the freezer and that was the most fun he’d had all week. I also loved the scenes when the demon had taken over, and Doug wasn’t really himself…when he didn’t know Tom and Alice from Adam. They were so close all those years, and there were so many memories. For him to say that, was a killer for me.
There was also that great scene where Marlena blamed Doug for knocking out Julie (Susan Seaforth Hayes) with a hospital tray. What was that like to play?
The hardest one was when Marlena was going to possibly hurt Julie. We’ve done that a few times in recent months, where Julie is threatened somehow or hurt. This is my own wife we’re talking about, so it’s very difficult for me to do those scenes.
What Does The Future Hold For Doug
When we last saw Doug, Marlena said he had to be committed to Bayview. Will we be seeing him at the mental hospital sedated and desperately trying to speak out about what’s really going on?
I believe that’s the way it goes. Nobody believes Doug. Marlena is the doctor and the authority figure, so they believe her.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel regarding Doug and his current dismal situation?
I believe in Doug’s future that he will come out of it. It’s a long period where people do not believe him, and Marlena is not herself. But finally, Julie does [believe him]. And, later on, other people will see that Doug has not been himself and Marlena is not herself. Fans should hang in there and stick with him and have hope.
Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Salem, check out all the latest that’s been posted on Days of our Lives spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.