Stacy Haiduk, whose Kristen was last seen in Salem in May, is returning to town this week, which was good news for the actress. “They mentioned that I would be back,” said Haiduk, who recorded a few episodes that aired in June and July. “I just didn’t know when exactly, so when I got the email that said, ‘You’re coming back,’ I was a little curious as to how. I was told I was going to meet Kristen’s daughter, which was exciting.
Haiduk, who has come and gone several times since taking on the role in 2018, reports that she easily returns to her alter ego. “For me, it’s just stepping into the open space of where she is right now,” she explains. “Once you’ve completed the hair and makeup process and put on an outfit, Kristen comes back to life pretty quickly, and I love her because she’s a presence that I love to walk into.”
Kristen first crosses paths with her brother EJ, now played by Dan Feuerriegel. “Well, I have to tell you, it was a pleasure working with Dan,” she enthuses. “He’s absolutely adorable. But it’s funny, when I first met him in the make-up room I said, ‘Hi I’m playing your mother [as Susan] and your sister. ‘ One of those weird, weird things to say, and he just looked at me, and I don’t think he really got that until we started working together. But he is such a joy. He is present. I love that we play sister / brother and I love that we play mother / son. He is such a joy and I hope that on the road we can do more. We immediately hooked. That’s what actors do; sometimes they can just click and they become what they are [in the script] and it is just lovely.
Kristen also gets confused with Steve, then Brady. As for sharing scenes with Stephen Nichols (Steve), Haiduk notes, “We only worked together when he was ‘Stefano’ and I had so much fun working with him. It’s very, very different when he’s Steve and Stefano. They are very different characters. Now he’s someone she really doesn’t like, so it becomes this cat and mouse game with him. I really enjoy working with him. Kristen is fiery. She’s desperate not to go back to jail, so it’s difficult for her right now.
While Haiduk was offscreen, Kristen’s original performer Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) reprized the role in the Peacock DAYS: BEYOND SALEM series, which initially surprised the actress. “At first I was kind of like, ‘What’s going on?’ And it was difficult but I understand what they were doing and I understand it and I really love Eileen, ”notes Haiduk. “I think she’s a wonderful woman and actress, so I understand why they did what they did. But I had to call the producer and say, ‘Uh, is Eileen coming back? ? ‘ and he said to me, ‘Yeah, yeah, she is, but not the way you think she is.’ So there was this panic that I went through because it was like, “No, I don’t want to not play Kristen,” because I really, really enjoy it. But I knew exactly what they were looking for. and I hope it was a success!