Smashing Interviews Magazine

Compelling People — Interesting Lives



December 2010



Shawn Christian Interview: 'Days of Our Lives' Star on His 'Naked' Audition

Written by , Posted in Interviews Actors

Shawn Christian

For the past two years, Shawn Patrick Christian has portrayed the role of Dr. Daniel Jonas, the highly skilled and sexy surgeon that saves lives in the fictional town of Salem on NBC’s daytime drama Days of Our Lives.

On November 8, 2010, Days of Our Lives celebrated its 45th year anniversary and began airing in high-definition. NBC has also recently renewed the long-running serial for two more years through September of 2013, with an option for another year if it remains popular.

"The genre of soap is fantastic. The pace we work is awesome and I love doing film and television, but it is a different animal on daytime because you’re truly doing it day in and day out, especially since we’re doing seven or eight episodes a week."

Christian’s small screen credits include Men Behaving Badly, Step by Step, Beverly Hills, 90210, Spin City, One Life to Live, Friends, Boston Legal, Las Vegas, CSI: Miami, Will & Grace, Ghost Whisperer, and Shark. Christian appeared in the following films and made for TV movies: Beautiful, Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, Undercover Lover, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Murder in the Hamptons, Meet Dave, and Secrets of the Mountain.

The forty-four year old actor made his television series debut on the now defunct CBS soap As the World Turns, playing Mike Kasnoff from 1994 to 1997.

Christian and his wife, Deborah Quinn, were married on May 18, 1996 and their son Kameron was born in 2000.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Shawn, thanks for speaking with me today.

Shawn Christian: Do I sense a Southern drawl?

Shawn Christian

Shawn Christian (Photo by John Paschal/JPI Studios)

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): A small one from Alabama.

Shawn Christian: There you go, I can hear it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you visited the South?

Shawn Christian: I have not recently. Well, that’s not true. I was in South Carolina and I think we’re going to Dallas soon.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I can’t believe Days of Our Lives is 45 years old and that I’ve watched since the beginning.

Shawn Christian: Who got you hooked? Everyone has a story on how they got hooked.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That would be my mom. I remember when Days was a half hour and it was followed by The Doctors.

Shawn Christian: Yeah, I was just talking with Suzanne Rogers and John Aniston at a Days event about when the show was half an hour long. Isn’t that crazy?

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yes. Have there been many celebrations going on out there?

Shawn Christian: Oh my God, I’ve had so much cake and champagne! I won’t be doing any naked scenes for months (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Right (laughs). You’ve only been with the show for two years.

Shawn Christian: Yeah, not quite three.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I read you were not familiar with Days when you joined the cast.

Shawn Christian: No, which sort of literally made me the outsider. It was great, though, because I got to familiarize my character and myself with everybody with no preconceived notions.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You were guest starring on many television shows before you began playing Dr. Daniel Jonas. Did you just want to get back into daytime drama?

Shawn Christian: Well, there was a pilot that I was on hold for and it didn’t go. This opportunity came up at the perfect time and I loved the character. I was like, “You know what, let’s go do this.”

The genre of soap is fantastic. The pace we work is awesome and I love doing film and television, but it is a different animal on daytime because you’re truly doing it day in and day out, especially since we’re doing seven or eight episodes a week.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did they mention in the audition that it was necessary for your character to show up wearing nothing but a towel on numerous occasions?

Shawn Christian: Yeah, exactly (laughs). I didn’t have to audition. They were like, “Come on in naked and you can have the job.” Just kidding.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Soap actors are asked to go shirtless so many times.

Shawn Christian: But, you know what, it’s part of the job.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you get used to it?

Shawn Christian: I don’t know if you get used to it (laughs). Here’s my answer: I try not to think about it at all and don’t make it about the “no shirt.” I make it about something else, whatever the scene is. That’s all.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What does your wife think about that?

Shawn Christian: She’s “over it.” She says, “I see it every morning and every day.”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What was your very first day like on the set of Days … any initiation for the new guy?

Shawn Christian: No, at least there were no practical jokes. I had this big scene in a room with all of these different characters so they were familiarizing me with who they were and what their stories were. I was doing a pancreatic transplant on Bo so I was introduced to the Chelsea character, then I had to meet all f these people. It was Victor and everybody. It must have been eight to ten people in one room. I was like, “Okay, let’s put this together.”

He (Dr. Jonas) came in as a bit of a world-wandering rogue so it was perfect. I came in to do my job and his full intention was to come in, do the job, save someone’s life, and hit the surf. Then other things have drawn him in here (laughs). Many things have now drawn him in.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yes, Daniel’s in a mess now.

Shawn Christian: He is in a mess, oh absolutely. Daniel’s always in a mess and trying to get out somehow.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Well, when your son-in-law has a one-night stand with your wife, you’re definitely having a bad day.

Shawn Christian: I can’t even start to explain that to people. They are like, “What’s your story?” I say, “I’m being tortured daily, but I love it.”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What’s next for Daniel, Chloe, Philip, and Melanie?

Shawn Christian: Chaos and more chaos. Just when you think things are going to get smoother, another hurricane blows in.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Nadia Bjorlin is so talented. I saw Two and a Half Men recently and there she was.

Shawn Christian: I know! She was very funny. Nadia can do drama and comedy. She stepped up on Two and a Half Men and delivered a really funny subtle performance. I loved it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): She has a beautiful voice. I’d love to hear her sing more often on the show.

Shawn Christian: Yes, she got to sing to Daniel once.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Shawn, do you watch yourself on television?

Shawn Christian: I do, to study, to learn what works and what doesn’t work.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You began your TV career on As the World Turns.

Shawn Christian: Yeah, that was a great way to get some acting chops. I went from Chicago in acting school to basically actually working. They throw your feet to the fire and you’ve got to deliver eight scenes in an hour. I was like, “What?”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did you feel about As the World Turns being cancelled?

Shawn Christian: Extremely sad. There were a lot of lovely people over there doing some fantastic work for a long time. It’s sad. I know many of those people will land back on their feet. I find hope in that.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you think daytime dramas will all end up on the Internet within the next five years?

Shawn Christian: I think they’ll still be doing television and Internet. As long as they continue to stick to the classic storytelling and be true to this genre, it will not go away.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Speaking of the Internet, you’ve joined Venice the Series.

Shawn Christian: Yeah, Crystal Chappell’s Venice. I’m having a ball!

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Describe your character.

Shawn Christian: By day Brandon is a police officer. By night, God only knows what he’s up to. He has sparked a relationship with the Guya (Hillary B. Smith) character. He’s a support character for one of these social butterflies swirling around all of the scenes and he’s there to support her and comfort her in “any” capacity.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What are the basic differences between Days and Venice web series)?

Shawn Christian: Well, it’s the way we shoot. We’re on location, but you’re doing it in the moment. The similarity is that you are doing it in the moment with multi-camera. She’s popping off a few cameras sometimes to capture a moment. Unlike a film you’re not going to go, “Oh okay, we’re going to reverse this and relight it for 20 minutes.”

There’s a lot more flexibility in the creation of the characters and the moments. It’s this wonderful sort of “maverick shooting it” moments. There’s some independence and it feels great like this tribe of people have their hearts in it to make and create the best possible moment, the best possible scene, and the best possible show.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you plan on staying at Days, Shawn?

Shawn Christian: Absolutely, as long as they’ll have me. You know how that goes, right? I’m blessed to be working; I’ll put it that way.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What are your interests outside of work?

Shawn Christian: Basketball is my drug of choice. It’s what I do. I like hiking, mountain biking, being in the ocean, exploring.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You exercise and eat healthy to keep in shape?

Shawn Christian: Yeah, I would just say that I eat normal. I’m just really active. That’s my thing.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): If you found out your last day on earth were tomorrow, what would be your ideal meal down to the dessert today?

Shawn Christian: Sushi and some unbelievable chocolate dessert made by a French pastry chef. I wish I knew his name, but I saw this unbelievable chocolate cake he made on the Food Channel. I was like, “Damn, that looks good!”

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