Where There’s a WILL, There’s a Way

As with most things Days, the end of Chandler Massey’s contract has turned into a serious clusterfuck.

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This isn’t really spoiler-ish because it won’t directly affect onscreen story, but I’ll put the details behind a cut for the faint of heart.

After Massey won his second Emmy this spring, he announced that he would be leaving Days at the conclusion of his contract to pursue his college education (which he put on hold when he was cast as Will). His contract was supposed to be up in December, meaning he would air through approximately April of 2017 because they tape so far ahead. Ken Corday came out and gave one of his usual grand pronouncements about how they love Massey and wouldn’t be recasting and yada yada.

Cut to last week, when Charlie Sheen issued some insane tweets about the “two dollar pig phukkers” [sic] at Days having “fired” Chandler (apparently they share a manager or publicist or something).

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It took a little while for that to make any sense whatsoever, but then Massey tweeted what sounded like a goodbye to Days. As it turns out, the show decided to let him out of his contract three months early because they’ve found what they consider to be a suitable recast for Will. Then came more details about how Greg Meng called Chandler into his office at the conclusion of the day’s taping and told him that he had just shot his final scenes as Will, because they had found a recast and were going to have the recast take over ASAP. In Massey’s exit interview with TV Guide, he maintains complete professionalism and reiterates that this was a mutual decision and that he appreciates the show letting him out of his contract early so that he can focus on school.

The boards and Twitter, of course, are going insane, largely because of reports that Massey was in tears when he left the studio and that he didn’t get a big farewell or the typical goodbye cake. People are threatening to stop watching Days because of the way he was treated and/or because they’re recasting, and some are insisting that Freddie Smith (Sonny) needs to be written out with Massey instead of creating a “faux-WilSon” (good grief) with a new Will. I wish I had the self-control to tune out craziness, but I don’t.

I think Massey gets a lot of extreme reaction — both love and hate — because of the fact that he’s playing the first major gay character (I know Sonny came before him, but Sonny was already out when he showed up, we didn’t watch him grow up, and he seemed poised from the start to be Will’s love interest) in the history of Days. People seem to regard him as either do-no-wrong perfect or a smirking disaster. From where I stand, he’s had good days and bad days, and he’s given some exceptional performances while also making some odd acting choices (the smirking was completely out of control for a while, I must say). But he has a charisma that has made me really enjoy him as Will, on the whole, and I think he works well with many of the people in Will’s story, especially Alison Sweeney, Deidre Hall, Bryan Dattilo, and James Scott. I like him and Freddie Smith together just fine, but I think there’s something missing in the writing that prevents them from having that extra-special spark.

As for a recast: absolutely. Will is far too important to the canvas just to ship off. They’ve gotten into a bad habit of doing that with the younger characters in the last decade, just sending them out of town when the original performers leave. I am pretty certain there is an actor out there capable of playing Will Horton, and if they really did find him now and don’t want to lose him, then great. Chandler Massey is a big boy and continues to be positive and respectful about his time on the show. If he can live without the big farewell cake, I think we’ll all be okay, ya know? Of course it smacks of typical ass-backwards Days business (maybe they could’ve told him a day ahead of time so he’d known it was his last day?), but in the grand scheme of things: whatever.

That said, I would have been fine with Will leaving town briefly — both to ease the transition and because it would’ve been nice to write some real goodbye scenes between him and Sonny, then bring in a new Will a month or two later to restart the story. But if the recast is immediate and the new actor works, then great. I don’t see who loses in that equation, aside from Massey missing out on the last pay cycle of his contract (since the show has a totally legal out every 13 weeks) and the crazed fans who think they are BFFs with an actor and can’t bear not seeing him on their TV 3-5 days a week.

Massey should continue to air as Will through the holidays, and the recast will likely take over right around New Year’s.

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3 Comments on “Where There’s a WILL, There’s a Way”

  1. Erin L. Says:

    Darn… I really liked him lately….ever since he stoped smirking at everything.


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