ICYMI Eric Martsolf and Nadia Bjorlin interview

Soap Opera Digest: Chloe and Brady have been through a lot. Do you prefer when they’re struggling or together?

Nadia Bjorlin: I feel like we’re constantly struggling [laughs]. It’s taken 18 years for our characters to reconnect. I guess maybe it’s been a slow burn. They haven’t quite had the chance to really find happiness together.

Eric Martsolf: I want to see more of them together, but together as Brady and Chloe. Not simply Brady and Chloe running around making sure Nancy is okay or trying to solve some other person’s predicament. I’d love to see more investment made with their history and what happened to them; talk about their reconnection. They were once husband and wife, now they’re seemingly just buddies that are hanging out around town. They need some alone time.

Digest: Isn’t that tough considering neither of them has their own home?

Bjorlin: It may be due to budgetary constraints, but we need some sexy time.

Martsolf: It’s hard to rekindle a relationship by asking your former wife to come to your parents’ basement for a date night. Brady needs his own place. They need their own time. They need a few dates and obviously a little more love in the afternoon. They share a kiss every once in a while, but as far as romantic connectivity, it’s kind of been lacking. I feel sorry for them for that because I think Brady and Chloe are a pretty sexy couple.

Bjorlin: What’s so funny is these people hold corporate jobs.

Martsolf: They both make a pretty decent income.

Bjorlin: Where do we keep our clothing? We have fabulous outfits.

Martsolf: We do have great clothes, just nowhere to hang them. In all seriousness, we know a lot of this is budget. There are only so many sets to go around. I understand that, but it is frustrating at times to not be able to solidify your storyline with a common resting place, like your own home.

Digest: How do you feel about Stacy Haiduk being in the mix as Kristen? What does she add to the Brady/Chloe dynamic?

Bjorlin: There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure. We adore Stacy and love working with her. She’s so incredible and really elevates the stuff she’s given. Some of it is so big and so out there. She’s so incredible at going all-in, and we all step up to match the Kristen/Susan madness. At times it’s hard because Stacy and I love each other so much. We have a hard time not laughing. Sometimes we’re not even really looking at each other when we’re spewing vitriol.

Martsolf: The irony is that we all get along so well, but we’re forced on the page to not get along ever. It is difficult that Kristen seems to be the sole source of conflict between Brady and Chloe. [She’s made so many] attempts to keep them apart. It’s difficult, in reality, to even assume that a woman like Chloe would put up with the antics of an ex like that.

Bjorlin: There’s a lot of emotional baggage. Maybe there’s a certain level of fear there that allows Chloe to put up with that crap.

Digest: Nadia, you’ve been the one and only Chloe, but Eric is the second actor to play Brady. How hard was it to get used to him in the role?

Bjorlin: It wasn’t difficult. Eric made it really easy for me. Also, there had been enough time passage in real life and in Salem life before Eric came in. Obviously, at first, I was a little nervous, like, “What is this going to feel like?” I actually remember our very first day and the scene we shot.

Martsolf: We were in the Brady pub.

Bjorlin: I remember those scenes and that they were really great. I felt this really natural connection. I sound like a contestant on THE BACHELOR right now. Eric was a tour de force, as they say. I remember thinking, “Wow. This is interesting. This could be something really amazing.” And then we never worked together again [laughs].

Martsolf: I was brought on thinking that I was reconnecting with Chloe, but the scenes were pretty much the couple was going to solidify their friendship and move away from a romantic scenario. I found myself working against the material because I felt very much engaged with Nadia and the dynamic between the two of us. I was supposed to say, “See ya, buddy.” But I felt myself welling up and getting a little emotional in those scenes. It surprised the heck out of me. Nadia and I have been buds ever since that day and have been waiting for this reconnection between Brady and Chloe.

Digest: What do you remember about that first meeting on set?

Bjorlin: We had met previous to working together, but we didn’t know each other that well. Then we really hit if off. At a certain point we realized we were the male and female version of each other. We’re both Leos.

Martsolf: Just two very introverted individuals who don’t speak their minds ever about anything [said sarcastically]. We got along from the start. We’re cut from the same cloth. That helped right away.

Bjorlin: It made it so easy. That’s why for years we’ve both been wanting to work together. It’s really nice when you have a natural connection with a person. When you’re able to use that it translates, and it makes for a good day at the office.

Digest: Have you ever had a spat on set — even about something trivial?

Bjorlin: I truly have never been annoyed at Eric.

Martsolf: I can honestly say no. And as alike as we are with personality traits, you would think that we might have clashed at certain times. But I can’t think of one time I was perturbed at her about a single thing. She’s never late. She never comes to a scene unprepared. She’s never been responsible for me missing a dinner or family commitment as a result of her work ethic. She’s on point. She’s a good employee and a good friend.

Digest: What are some of the favorite things you’ve gotten to do together over the years as Brady and Chloe?

Bjorlin: Getting to show our humorous side is always fun. Sometimes Chloe is just the damsel in distress.

Martsolf: My favorite Brady and Chloe moments have been the ones when they’re reminiscing about their past and their history, as dark as some of it is. When I took over the role of Brady, it was all about his addiction and how it ruined their marriage. I love when that stuff is referenced because it was so quickly glazed over in the beginning. That’s some serious material that I think should be addressed. I love when they bring it up and they talk about it. It connects them more to the audience. You’re reminded that these two have been through the ringer.

Bjorlin: I love when Brady is in a coma [laughs]. I’m sort of kidding, but some of the better material has been Chloe really showing her heart, when Brady has been injured. That’s when she really gets to share that, “It’s you. It’s always been you. Please don’t leave me. I love you.” Because they really were, and I may get some slack for this, each other’s first loves. Yes, there was Philip, but Brady and Chloe were the first really true love couple that got married. When that kind of stuff gets brought up, it’s beautiful to play.

Martsolf: There’s still good history there to be chewed on and to be explored. The die-hard “Broe” fans out there have been waiting a long time for this reconnection, and we want to give it to them in a way they’ve been anticipating.

Digest: What are the pros and cons of working together for as long as you have?

Bjorlin: The pros are that there is a comfort and a trust, so we know it’s going to be a great day. We’re going to get [the job] done. Another pro is you know what the other person is going to do with the scene, although that can also be a con. It’s getting harder to surprise each other, although sometimes it happens and we’ll have our moments.

Martsolf: The biggest pro is we like each other as people, and not every coupling adores one another. Sometimes it’s a struggle every single day to create chemistry and make it plausible for people who are watching the show. Honestly, I’ve been fortunate with Stacy and with Nadia. It’s just easy. There’s an ultimate trust that gives you the freedom to explore, and your day is going to be better as a result.

Digest: Who’s more sensitive?

Bjorlin: It’s hard to know which one of us is more sensitive. I think that’s why we work well together. We don’t take things personally. We trek on.

Martsolf: I think I’m a bit more sensitive. Nadia seemingly can let things bounce right off her. Then again, Leos like us appear to have this strong brick wall on the outside, but inside we’re like teddy bears. I get my feelings hurt just like the next guy. Nadia puts up a really good front. I’ll watch her take anything and just brush it off her shoulders. She rolls with the punches. She’s had a lot of life come and hit her, and she’s handled it all so well and with such grace. I’ve watched her fight battles and come out victorious every single time. I know she has a thick suit of armor and always comes out on top.

Digest: Who is funnier?

Bjorlin: That’s a hard question.

Martsolf: Nadia’s really funny.

Bjorlin: We both make each other laugh all the time. Maybe it’s a tie.

Digest: Who has a better temperament in the morning?

Martsolf: I do. She’s pretty quiet in the morning. She’s like a sleeping bear in the morning. You don’t poke her with a stick until after hair and makeup.

Bjorlin: Yeah, I would say Eric. He is a strange creature who does not drink coffee. I have to have coffee or I’m not alive. He seems to come in more energetic, so he might be healthier than I am. He drinks tea. I like tea. I drink it, too, but not first thing in the morning.

Martsolf: I’ve tried to drink coffee. I can’t handle the taste, so I’ve catered my routine toward tea. Brandon Barash [Stefan] and I drink tea together. We’re like two older English gentlemen in the morning. It’s kind of a ritual.

Bjorlin: Brandon’s gotten me on the tea bandwagon, but I need to be heavily caffeinated in the morning.

Digest: What do you admire most about one another?

Bjorlin: I feel like a broken record here. I admire Eric’s work ethic. He always shows up ready. He’s always ready to play. I can trust him. It’s a great feeling to be an actor and to work with somebody you do totally trust. Whatever material you’re given, you know you can make it work. I admire that and I guess I also admire his gym-going. I’m objectifying him here. But I do enjoy a good Eric objectification. Hey, I’m human. It makes my job more pleasant.

Martsolf: [To Bjorlin] You are just something. I love you. I’ll spin off that. Nadia has had a reputation for being one of the most beautiful women on soaps. You can’t take that away from her. She’s just a lovely person to look at. The thing that I admire most about her is her fortitude and her strength inside. Sometimes people mistake the lovely exterior and don’t really get to know the tough chick who lives inside. She’s just a fighter. I’m proud of her and the way she’s held herself through the years. She’s lovely inside and lovely on the outside.