She played a real witch on Days of our Lives and a massively misunderstood one on One Life to Live, but anyone who knows Kassie DePaiva (ex-Eve Donovan; ex-Blair Cramer) knows that her real-life personality couldn't be further from her two most famous daytime roles. The actress is genial, warm, kind, sincere, and a true Southern charmer -- qualities that made her a perfect fit to play a supportive band mom in Killian and the Comeback Kids, available on VOD platforms beginning Friday, August 5.
The film -- which had a limited theatrical run back in 2020 -- was written, produced, and directed by Taylor Purdee, the son of Nathan Purdee (ex-Hank Gannon, OLTL; ex-Nathan Hastings, The Young and the Restless). It stars Taylor as Killian, who lands back home in rural Pennsylvania after finishing an expensive college education. Killian's "failed" summer takes on new meaning, however, when he decides to throw together a ragtag band of other locals to perform at a music festival coming to their once-prosperous steel town. Armed with only folk rock, Killian and the band try to unite the community -- if only for one night. DePaiva plays Killian's mother, Mrs. Raison, opposite Nathan as Killan's father, Mr. Raison.
With the film soon to be available for the masses, Soap Central spoke with DePaiva to get her take on the hopeful message viewers will see on-screen. She also opens up about how she feels about a possible return to DAYS, a new project she's working on with Wally Kurth (Justin Kiriakis, DAYS; Ned Quartermaine, General Hospital), why OLTL's Todd and Blair still resonate with fans, and more.
Soap Central: How's your summer going so far? Have you and James [DePaiva, ex-Max Holden, OLTL; ex-Dr. David Bensch, General Hospital] done anything fun, or will you before summer is over?
Kassie DePaiva: Well, we're currently pouring a big slab of concrete outside of my barn, and that's fun! [Laughs] Jimmy bought a new electric truck called the Ford Lightning. It's an F150 electric, and it's pretty cool. But we just wanted to be able to park my car on concrete so it doesn't rust out, because we're up in the Catskills where everything is salted, because it's snowy in the winter. So, the truck now gets the garage, and my car gets booted out to the driveway!
Soap Central: Ah, that's hilarious! The truck is the new baby of the family.
DePaiva: Yes, and it's boy thing, but it's pretty. [Laughs]
Soap Central: So, the summer has been filled with a lot of construction and home improvement stuff?
DePaiva: We've done a lot of home improvement -- gardening and mowing, and a lot of chores, because we have 30 acres that we maintain. But I travel down to see my parents in Kentucky -- I try to get down there every six weeks or two months, and it's always a blessing. But that's it; we just do our same old summer stuff, and I love it.
Soap Central: This summer is even more exciting because Killian and the Comeback Kids is being released for streaming. How do you feel about the film finally coming to the masses?
DePaiva: I think it's great. It's such a great story. Taylor did such a beautiful job writing it and directing it and acting in it and singing in it and with the music. I just had a little, bitty part, and I was very fortunate and very blessed to be a part of it. It is always great to be able to work with Nathan -- what a joy he is. I'm happy for them.
Soap Central: You got to work with a great bunch of people, no doubt, but was there anything about the script or the character that you got really excited about?
DePaiva: She's just really supportive of her son and worried about him, and I can totally relate, being the mom of a teenager! [Laughs] I truly have a very small part, but it was just fun to be a part of it.
Soap Central: What do you hope people feel after they watch the film?
DePaiva: I hope that people walk away knowing that they should never give up on their dreams, and sometimes you might choose a path, but it's like the Garth Brooks song "Unanswered Prayers," because those things that don't happen tend to lead you down a path that you might have never taken, and it's a better path. It is a very sweet movie, and it's hopeful. It's about family and communities pulling together and how important that is. This town has kind of dried up, and everyone was kind of bummed out about a lot of stuff; it's very repressed, and the music kind of changed the community and brought them together. So, it's just a good story.
Soap Central: Speaking of never giving up on your dreams, do you remember before you made it big and what that felt like to put yourself out there and want something when you didn't know that success was right around the corner?
DePaiva: That's a hard question because I've always lived my life by putting one foot in front of the other and trying to do the best I can with what I had. I just feel really fortunate that I was at the right place at the right time. And truly, regarding my music, I always thought it was something that I was going to grow out of, but that's kind of how my foot got in the door, even with soap operas, because they were looking for that: [Guiding Light's] Chelsea Reardon was a singer, Blair sang, and Eve sang. So, it's kind of crazy that that ended up being a big part of building my career. But who knew I would have such an exciting career? Especially in daytime! Every time my contract was up, I was like, "Well, they're going to fire me. I guess I'm not going to be on the soaps anymore." [Laughs] Thirty years later, I'm still kind of dabbling in it, so it's good.
Soap Central: I'm glad to hear you're still dabbling! Does that mean that you'd be willing to return as Eve if Days of our Lives gave you a call?
DePaiva: Oh, yeah! Of course! That would be quite lovely. My character is in jail, though.
Soap Central: Yeah, your last run was quite a doozy, with Eve going on a huge revenge mission.
DePaiva: When they call and invite me back, I have no idea what the storyline is, so when I showed up, I was reading the script, and I was like, "Well, somebody blew up this church," and then I kept reading more, and I turned the page, and it was like, "Holy cow! That was EVE that blew up the wedding and kidnapped Ben [Robert Scott Wilson]?!" and all this crazy stuff. I learn as I go, but it's always fun. And more importantly, it's always really wonderful to get to see those friends that I made out there on that show. It's a really tight group of people, and I've been fortunate enough that they've allowed me to play in their sandbox for a while.
Soap Central: Ben and Ciara [Victoria Konefal] are no longer on the canvas -- well, the actor who plays Ben is still there, but he plays a different character now...
DePaiva: I know, that's crazy! [Laughs]
Soap Central: But it means that Eve could actually come back to town, as her two biggest "victims," shall we say, are no longer in Salem. The door is open.
DePaiva: Yeah, and wouldn't it be funny if it turned out that Ben was Eve's son, her long-lost son?! [Laughs]
Soap Central: Oh, my gosh! DAYS would be the soap to do it, that's for sure! Was there anyone at the show that you didn't get to work with much that you'd welcome the opportunity to share scenes with now?
DePaiva: You know, I feel like I got to dabble with most everyone. When you're a bad girl, you're always pissing someone off! You're always in someone's face, all the time. So, I really feel like I got to work with everyone. I was so fortunate to get to work with John Aniston [Victor Kiriakis] and Missy Reeves [Jennifer Horton] and Jen Lilley [ex-Theresa Donovan] and Eric Martsolf [Brady Black] and A Martinez [Eduardo Hernandez], when he was on the show. I got to work with some really fine actors.
Soap Central: You mentioned Melissa Reeves, and I know you loved working with her, but now the character of Jennifer is sometimes played by Cady McClain [ex-Dixie Cooney, All My Children; ex-Rosanna Cabot, As the World Turns]. How would you feel about potentially sharing scenes with her? And do you know each other from your ABC soap days?
DePaiva: Yes, I know Cady, but I have never worked with her. But she's a phenomenal actress. Just phenomenal. All I can say is, Eve will hate Jennifer, no matter who plays the part! [Laughs]
Soap Central: Someone else I'd love to see you share the screen with is Vincent Irizarry, because Eve was revealed to be Deimos' widow after Deimos died, and you two really didn't cross paths in a meaningful way.
DePaiva: No! And what happened was, they had written the story and then I got leukemia, so they had to write me out. And when I came back eight months later, they had already killed off Deimos, but off-camera, Eve and Deimos had gotten married. So, I had some flashback scenes with him, but that was going to be the story, before leukemia kind of jumped up and kicked my butt for a couple of months.
Soap Central: But you are fully healed and doing much better, right?
DePaiva: Oh, yeah! I have been six years in remission, and all is good.
Soap Central: Good! I'm so happy to hear that.
DePaiva: Thank you.
Soap Central: So, if the opportunity came up to re-explore that storyline and marriage to Deimos, would you be keen to do that? Because I think you and Vincent would be fire together!
DePaiva: I do, too! He's such a great actor. And we've kind of chased each other on shows. He was on Guiding Light and left when my character, Chelsea, came on. And it's so funny, when Prospect Park took over All My Children and One Life to Live, Vincent and I shared a dressing room; we swapped out. One week or month they would work, and then the next, we would work. So, we shared a dressing room by chance, but that's how it worked out. He's a good guy, he's extremely talented, and it would be really nice to work opposite him. He's fantastic. But I tell you, Wally Kurth and I are going to be working opposite each other in October.
Soap Central: You are?! In what?
DePaiva: It's a short film called Common as Red Hair. We're going to shoot it down in Columbia, South Carolina. The writer is Robbie Robertson, and I met Robbie down at one of the Star Struck fan events down in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. He was friends with Wally, a really nice guy, great writer, and the script is really, really great. It's about intersex* normalization, about a child being born and having these two parents grieve [over] having to make the decision about their child's sex at a young age, and as the child ages, the child is angry at their parents for choosing one sex over the other. It's something that I really don't know much about, but I'm learning. And the script is really good, and Wally and I will be husband and wife, so, that will be really nice.
[*When a child is born with atypical chromosomes that affect their bodies in a way that does not fit with the normative definitions of male or female.]
Soap Central: Oh, my gosh, yes! DAYS fans are going to love the news that you and Wally are working together!
DePaiva: And I tell you what, there's a fundraising page up, and the fans have been very generous to help raise money for this project. It's just a short film, like a 15- to 20-minute film, but it has a very good, timely message, and hopefully it will be able to inform people about something that they are as unaware of as I was. I'd never really heard of that before.
Soap Central: I recently did an interview with an actor who was huge on soaps in the 80s and 90s but has since redefined his career. He's now attracted to deeper, more realistic roles rather than the fantasy situations he played in daytime. Do you find that to be true for yourself, that the type of roles that interest you has changed?
DePaiva: Well, I wish I could say that I could be picky! But I don't even feel like I audition for anything anymore. During COVID, I went on tape for a couple of Dynasty episodes, but I didn't get them. I just feel like, I don't know, maybe I'm semi-retired. But they'll come in! God always takes care of me, so I know it'll be fine.
Soap Central: Of course, it will! We were just talking about all of the amazing things you've done in your career, and it all just happened for you in the right moments.
DePaiva: I know, and it always works out when I least expect it, so there you go! [Laughs]
Soap Central: I'm still hoping for something One Life to Live-related in the future, so let's put that out there!
DePaiva: Yes! And I want to continue to thank fans for their constant support. There's always a constant thread on Twitter regarding Todd [Roger Howarth/Trevor St. John] and Blair. People are still loving that coupling, and it's always interesting to read people's take on it. They're still missing One Life to Live, and I thank people for their support.
Soap Central: It is insane but also so lovely to see how much viewers still miss One Life to Live and All My Children. It's not like they were canceled two years ago, you know?
DePaiva: Isn't it funny! It was almost twelve years ago! That's a long time, so the continued support is amazing.
Soap Central: I'd love to hear how you feel about the big news that just broke of Trevor St. John joining The Young and the Restless?
DePaiva: That's news to me! But great news. Trevor is an amazing actor and will bring only good things to Y&R. He takes a good story and puts his unique spin on it. They are lucky to have him.
Soap Central: Do you ever think about your Todd and Blair days, or just when fans bring it to your attention on social media?
DePaiva: I think about it, because it was such a big part [of my career]. We were together for 17 years, so we both went through a lot personally, and the characters [did, as well]. It was just great. Roger was great, and then working with Trevor was great; both were really fantastic people to play off of, and it wasn't always easy, because Todd loved her one minute and hated her the next! So, it was challenging, and I was very proud of the work that I got to do.
Soap Central: Those are the best couplings! Nobody wants a happy couple on soaps.
DePaiva: I know! You go, "Finally, we won't have to fight!" But that lasts about two episodes, and then you're back; you find out a secret or something. Everybody has their secrets. [Laughs]
Soap Central: I imagine, as an actor, you prefer those dramatic moments, anyway.
DePaiva: Oh, yeah. But I really like both. I truly loved playing Chelsea on Guiding Light because she was a real positive and "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" kind of girl. She was the good girl, and then to go play Blair, who was misunderstood and kind of the vixen, it was fun. And then Eve is just off the charts! It's been fun. Of course, it's fun. I love daytime. I love the speed of it, I love the fun of it, I love the melodrama of it. It's all good.
Soap Central: Is there a soap storyline that you never got the chance to play that you'd love to tackle at some point? Like the buried alive, evil twin kind of things?
DePaiva: Oh, gosh! I feel like I've done almost all of it. I mean, I haven't been buried alive, but Blair was stuck in a trunk for a month! I think Asa [Phil Carey] did that. I'm trying to think of something that I haven't done, but I don't know; I feel like I did everything I could possibly do! I've had a lot of fun.
Killian and the Comeback Kids will be released across VOD platforms on Friday, August 5, 2022. For more information about the film, click here.
DePaiva will also be appearing at the Pennsylvania Horror Convention later this month. The event, being held this year in Allentown, will take place August 20 and 21. For more information, visit pennsylvaniahorrorcon.com.
What do you think about our interview with Kassie DePaiva? What are your thoughts about her film Killian and the Comeback Kids? Would you like to see her return as DAYS' Eve Donovan? If so, how do you think the writers could bring her back to the canvas? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.