In the soap world, pairings can make or break actors but that has never been the case for Days of Our Lives' Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans). The legendary thespian spoke with Soap Opera Digest, recalls her screen test, and discusses her working relationship with her longtime screen partner Drake Hogestyn (John Black):
Digest: In 1986, Drake Hogestyn took over the role of Roman, who was later revealed to be John. John and Marlena are one of the longest-running and certainly one of the most popular pairings in the history of daytime TV. Tell us about your relationship with Drake.
Hall: Drake came into audition/screen test, I guess. I had agreed to test with everybody. I ran with everybody the same amount of time, practiced with everybody the same amount of time, and did the scene with Drake. Later, everybody was saying, 'I don’t know, what do you think?' 'I don’t know, what do you think?' And they said, 'What do you think?' And I said, 'I don’t think there’s any contest. 'Who do you think it is?' I said, 'I think it’s Drake. I mean, he’s got everything you need. I think it’s a good look. I think we look well together. I think he’s got an intensity. He’s got a strength and a masculinity but a sexiness. Of everybody that you brought in, I think he’s your best choice.'
And they had been in the same place but kind of waited for me to say it, I guess. And so he was hired. I guess none of us stopped to think he’s not really what you would call a terribly experienced actor. I mean, he’d been a sports guy, a baseball player. And there was also, if you recall, it was right about the time Ricky Nelson had died. We all suddenly looked at Drake and went, 'Wow, there’s a real familiarity there. They don’t look like each other, but there is that thing.'
It was only a slight concern and it turned out not to be a problem. But he was dreamy. He loved to rehearse, wanted to get it right, very serious about the work. He had a Jeep without a top or something. Why am I remembering that? And he would drive that in every day. Raining? He drove it in. But yeah, it was good. I think it worked from the very first moment.
And the rest, they say, is history....