Marci Miller Opens Up About Her Decision to Leave Days, Motherhood and What's Next! Learn More Here >>>
By Angela Ryan-Duncan
Marci Miller, who played the recently deceased Abigail Deveraux DiMera on Days of Our Lives, graciously took some time out of her family vacation in Colorado to take part in a wonderful conversation with us! Keep reading to hear all the amazing things she had to share!
We started off by asking her what initially sparked her love of acting and she told us, "I saw a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. My mom took us to see the show in the theater. And afterward, she bought me the cassette. I sat on my front porch and wrote it out by hand because I didn't know that a script was a thing. I would push play and pause and I wrote out all the lyrics and everything to that entire show because I was going to do a production of it in the fourth grade. I just fell in love with it instantly. The first time I saw anything live, that kind of entertainment and expression and production and escape. It was just total imagination and a whole other world. So it was love at first sight."
Like a dream, Marci started her pursuit of the genre. When asked about her first memories of performing herself Marci quickly noted, "I took ballet classes. So I did The Nutcracker ballet for a couple of years in grade school. But then in high school, I auditioned for a musical for the first time. I just sort of decided to, on a whim. I always played a lot of sports but I got in and I was surprised to get in. I remember singing my first song and after opening night my mom said 'I didn't know you could sing, I didn't know you could do this'. So it was sort of this discovery that we were all having together and it was fun and nice to have that affirmation and confirmation from her. The show was Godspell and I was singing, Bless the Lord. It was a great show to start off with."
That wasn't all she had to say. "When I went to college, initially, I thought that's what I was going to do but it's just not been my path. The doors that have opened for me have been more straight theater, and then film and television came completely out of nowhere for me."
We couldn't miss the topic of Days of Our Lives. Miller came on as a recast Abigail in 2016 taking over from Kate Mansi. While it must have been challenging coming on as a recast, she went on to detail how she landed that nice soapy daytime role on a show that her mom loved so much. "I was working out of town on a film," she began, "the audition came through and I just did a self-tape in my hotel room and sent it off and then they asked me to come in and test. My mother watched the show when I was growing up so I was used to having it on in the living room and I knew exactly what it was. I knew who the characters were. I was so grateful that the auditioning process and everything went the way that it did and I got it." Can you imagine the joy she felt having this amazing new job as an actress? "I was totally ecstatic."
For Marci, "It's a life-changing phone call to get. I had been waiting tables for years and years and years and I had just finally quit my table waiting job and said 'okay, world, I don't know what's next. I have no idea what's coming'. I had sort of jumped off that cliff and then this all fell into place and really kind of changed my life and has been groovy. I loved it."
We of course then talked about one of her most impactful storylines since her debut on the show. The challenges of the DID storyline. She quickly noted, "Just from a work standpoint, they shoot so quickly. When I was filming multiple characters in a day or when my characters were talking to each other, just the amount of dialogue in and of itself that you had to learn was crazy. I had a 90-page day before it had consisted of 40 to 50 pages for most days. So it was a very busy time and you always wished you could give more and do more and prepare more. It was also hard for me, creatively, because I felt like I wasn't able to bring as much and do as much as I would have liked, so it was very hard."
But it was also one of her favorite storylines to play, "The DID was cool. Just because I got to access parts of myself that I don't normally get to do like the Gabi character. I would never get cast that way. So that was fun and interesting."
She had another favorite storyline. "I also liked coming in the very first time, that storyline, just getting to play some of those moments with Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera). Like, sneaking into the nursery and finding my baby, that scene when he walks in and he sees me for the first time and I'm holding Thomas in my arms and just that whole journey of he and I getting to know each other literally as people, as actors, but also the characters sort of learning to get to know each other and trust each other and all of that. I really, really enjoyed that."
We also talked about the recent scenes at the failed double wedding of Gwen (Emily O'Brien) & Xander (Paul Telfer) and Craig (Kevin Spirtas) & Leo (Greg Rikaart), "It was really fun. I'm not a confrontational person so it was fun to get to be sassy and do that sort of thing, very fun for me. Again, it was a lot of dialogue. I remember Wally Kurth (Justin Kiriakis) was standing there and he was like 'Marci, the last time I had this much dialogue in an episode they brought in a teleprompter'. They didn't offer me a teleprompter but I love it when Abby gets to just lay it all out there and really go for it because I'm living so vicariously through her."
It must have been one of the toughest decisions to walk away from something that had now become a part of her life. Playing the character of Abigail Deveraux DiMera whom she loves so much. We asked her about all that happened around the decision to kill off Abigail, "I just had a really hard time with the decision honestly. I mean, there are a variety of opinions about how to handle this. I knew I couldn't stick around and be on contract. I knew that. I have no idea what Kate's (Mansi) schedule looked like or anything but I honestly thought that they would recast and should recast, that was my opinion. I felt like they should have recast the character with a woman who was going to be able to stick around for a good amount of time to continue to tell that story. I was floored."
"It was a really eerie feeling on set that whole last week, even Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans) stopped me in the hall and she was like, 'I feel like somebody really, actually died'. It was emotional and eerie and strange."
We asked her how she found out they were going to kill her character off and she told us, "The Executive Producer, Albert Alarr, called me and said 'just want to let you know we're gonna kill Abby'. He did kind of shrug his shoulders over the phone and was like, 'you know, you're not always dead'. Never say never sort of thing." We and Marci agreed that maybe the show's decision to kill off the character was in respect for her and Mansi's outstanding work in the role. "It was just what made sense for them, they felt from a story standpoint, and for the character of Chad, they wanted him to have some good stuff. It was what they felt was best in the moment so I got that phone call. I was grateful to at least find out upfront. Didn't see it coming at all. That was not what I expected."
Days of Our Lives fans and Abby/Chabby fans especially will be happy to hear that she is open to someday returning, "I have no idea what my life will look like years from now. So if by not recasting, in the event that I popped in for even a short amount of time or something like that. I'm not looking at times but I never say never and I'm not closing the door permanently."
Marci shared with us how she found out about her Daytime Emmy nomination for Oustanding Lead Actress, "I was hanging out in the living room with my kiddo and I got a text message from Billy Flynn congratulating me. It wasn't really on my radar. I didn't realize nominations were coming out that day. And then I got a slew of text messages from a variety of other people after that. This was the second year that I found out from a text from Billy."
This past weekend was the traditional "Leading Ladies Luncheon" which is a lunch for all of the Daytime Emmy nominees for Oustanding Lead Actress, traditionally hosted by the winner from the previous year. This year's luncheon was hosted by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood who plays Steffy on The Bold and the Beautiful and was attended by Laura Wright (Carly, General Hospital), Cynthia Watros (Nina, General Hospital), and Arianne Zucker (Nicole, Days of Our Lives). Marci attended with her daughter and shared this about the event, "It's always such a great time. I mean, it's the one time of year we get to cross paths with some of these people from these other shows. They're deep, vulnerable, intelligent women and so I always really look forward to going and just hearing what they have to say. There's a lot of wisdom in that room, at that table. I mean, you've got Laura and Cynthia and Jacqueline and Ari. I was content to sort of just sit there. I just wanted them all to talk and tell their stories and share their experiences."
We asked about other projects she was working on and she told us, "I just shot a film, an action-comedy called Gimme My Money. It was great. I got to play this sort of Terminator, action figure type of thing and I'm one of this crazy gaggle of characters. It was one of the favorite filming experiences I've ever had. I think they're taking it to Cannes this year to try to sell it and I think it will sell and we'll be somewhere eventually. I'm very excited about that coming out."
Of course, the thing that occupies most of her time right now is being a mother to her one-year-old daughter, Willet, "It's hard, but it's amazing. She's just this incredible little being that I can't believe we created and we get the great honor to watch and witness all the time. I'm having so much fun. She's a teacher, a great, great companion, great friend. She's the perfect addition to our little family."
"She was on the plane yesterday. And she had her hand on the window for like 10 minutes and was just looking out the window saying, 'Oh, wow. Oh, wow.' I was like, 'Yeah, you're totally right. Oh, wow.' I could do this all the time."
When we asked Marci about her interests outside of acting she told us, "Definitely cooking. I say all the time if I weren't an actor, I would do something in that space. I would have a bed and breakfast or something. I love to host. I love to cook. I love to bring people into my home and I like to bring people together and connect. I like yoga, like being outdoors. I like coffee, wine, whiskey. The good life."
We talked about what was next for her and she shared, "In terms of what's next, we'll see. We'll see what kinds of opportunities open up. I'm back to playing the lottery and joining the audition world and trying to snag myself another job here."
She wanted to end our chat with a message to her fans, "Always deep, deep gratitude. The fans are what make this whole thing what it is. Marci Miller, Chabby, Days of Our Lives, all of that, we really owe all of that to their dedication and commitment and support. They're always so positive and encouraging to me and it really does mean a lot. I don't have a strong social media presence right now but I do get on there and I do see it and I do feel it and I'm very, very grateful to them. I'm no fool, I'm nothing without them, that's for sure."
Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Marci! We know we speak for all the fans of Days of Our Lives and Chabby when we say you, and Abigail, will be missed and we wish you the best of luck in all future endeavors!