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A Closer Look

In the wake of burying her beloved husband John, Marlena starts thinking about revenge this week on Days of our Lives, which means the beginning of a new phase for the heroine. Actress Deidre Hall weighs in on her character's grief, growth and new direction after getting through the most heart-wrenching scenes she's had to play in years.

SOW: How do you think the show handled the scenes surrounding John's death?

DH: We don't always get to have dialogue that is so succinct and profound and in the moment. So caring and nurturing. This scenes were written with enormous tenderness.

SOW: They certainly were tear-jerkers.

DH: Oh, my gosh! I don't usually get swept up in these things. Early on, when I read the scripts -- there were eight in a row -- I was on the treadmill and wept the entire hour. Wept and wept. It was this rich family setting. I held my brother when he died. I held my dad when he died. I held my mom when she died. All that stuff is the greatest gift of comfort for survivors and, I've got to think certainly comfort for the departing.

SOW: How do you like the way Marlena's grief is being depicted?

DH: It is so well done. The speeches about the meaning of grief are from some brilliant mind. It's letting the audience know, here's what it is. Here is how it goes. Here is how it feels. Marlena has been disconsolate, completely undone. You don't see her like that very often. It isn't self-pity. It's exquisite sadness and loss and talking about loss. I love that she doesn't say, "I can't tell you how upset I am," but tells you how upset she is in words and feelings and pictures that dogs and cats can understand. It's such an important public service for the audience to sense what this family is and will be going through, and how the coping mechanisms will work for everybody.

SOW: Do you get a sense of a stronger Marlena will emerge from this tragedy?

DH: From what I'm seeing so far, yes. You can't scare her anymore. My sister [Andrea Hall-Gengler -ex-Samantha, ex-Hattie] teaches Special Ed, and when she sees kids heading for something they shouldn't be heading for, she says, 'You really want to poke that bear?" I feel like Marlena isn't afraid to poke the bear anymore. She'll take on Stefano, she's fearless.

SOW: Why do you think that is?

DH: Because she's got nothing left to lose. Her children are where they need to be. Everybody has launched, everybody is gone, there's just her.

SOW: What's your hope for Marlena now?

DH: I like that she's courageous. I like that she's outspoken. I would like to see her maintain this level of intensity. My fantasy would be a woman who's having a Jodie Foster moment, she loses someone she loves --- and comes out fighting!
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