The only thing wilder than Days of Our Lives‘ latest recast is the story behind it.
The role of Theresa Donovan, which has been portrayed by Jen Lilley on and off since 2013, is being taken over by a new-yet-familiar actress — one who’s already playing another character on the show. As confirmed in the credits for the Peacock soap’s Oct. 2 episode, the new Theresa is none other than Emily O’Brien, whom viewers have known as Gwen Rizczech (now von Leuschner) since 2020.
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If that isn’t enough to blow your mind, you might want to buckle up. Lilley tells Soaps.com that she learned about the recast on set, calling it a “horrible situation. Top to bottom, it was just not handled the right way. … Everybody was mad, because everybody was kind of lied to.”
According to Lilley, she had reached out to Days‘ former co-executive producer Albert Alarr — who has since been fired following a separate misconduct investigation — about bringing Theresa back to Salem for Victor Kiriakis’ funeral. Following a bit of back and forth, Lilley says an agreement was made for her to shoot 12 weeks’ worth of scenes in the four weeks she was available.
So imagine Lilley’s surprise when her four weeks on set came to a close, yet Theresa’s storyline remained unfinished. Lilley recalls confronting Alarr in his office, at which point he finally admitted, “Theresa’s still going to do all of that… it’s just we’re going to do it with a different Theresa.”
Lilley previously suspected that her 12-week arc hadn’t actually been fully written when she signed on (“I think they were bluffing at the time”), and this seemed to confirm those suspicions.
For what it’s worth, Lilley has “no hard feelings” towards O’Brien, to whom she was happy to provide pointers about playing “the funniest, sassiest character in daytime.” In fact, as she expresses in her interview, “That poor girl has had to have conversations with me [on set, knowing she was going to replace me]. How horrible she must have felt!”
Days fans, how are you feeling about this wild recast? Are you excited to see what O’Brien does with the character? Drop a comment with your thoughts below. (And click here to watch Lilley’s full interview with Soaps.com.)
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