A familiar face is resurfacing in Salem this week. Robert Scott Wilson, whose Ben sailed off into the sunset with Ciara on July 8, is back portraying Alexander Kiriakis, the only son of Justin and the late Anjelica.

“I think my head spun around about 15 times,” cracks Wilson, describing his reaction to Co-Executive Producer Albert Alarr revealing the soap was bringing him back in a new role. “I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ After it sunk in and he told me what the plan was for him, I was excited.”

Wilson first heard about the twist in the beginning of the year. “Albert called me the first week of January,” he shares. “We’ve kept it on the hush for such a long time. As soon as he explained it to me and I realized the trust they had in me to carry another character with an immediate turnaround — there was only about 10 days in between saying good-bye to Ben and welcome to Alex — it’s just a giant breath of fresh air. That’s the best way I can say it.”

The actor, who has said he’d never want to play anyone but the complex Ben on DAYS, was quickly sold on the idea. “I always thought if I was doing daytime, it would be Ben Weston or bust,” he nods. “Little did I know that they would write something that I would literally want to be written. It’s something I would want to do on another show. To be able to do it on my own home turf is the greatest blessing. I’m super-grateful.” But that doesn’t mean he’s easily leaving Ben behind. “I love Ben. He is somebody I really helped create and form, and it’s been such an amazing run. I thought it would be kind of hard to top.”

The quick turnaround meant Wilson and the DAYS regime had to figure things out quickly and find ways to differentiate between the Ben who left Salem and the Alex who arrives in town. “Listen, we’re not trying to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes,” contends Wilson. “Everybody knows who I am. It’s not like there were two months or three months [in between]. I understand there’s going to be some backlash. It is what it is. But between our head writer and our producers, everybody has been on board with it. Everybody’s excited. But with that being said, we had to change him up a little bit.”

So viewers can expect to see Wilson donning a new look. “Obviously, wardrobe is completely different,” says Wilson. “This guy is not Ben Weston. He is a very rich, very successful businessman. He’s very into fashion. So attire is one thing. We switched up the hair, too. We kind of threw around tousled-down bangs for something different. He rocks some glasses, which I wanted to do and Albert mentioned. We had to figure out what we wanted to do without pushing it too hard. We’re not trying to fool anybody, but we’ve got to make a visual thing. As Ben, I always wore very dark colors. This guy’s a little more vibrant. He’s not an ex- serial killer. He’s a playboy businessman, and he’s got money. It’s a completely different vibe across the board. It’s night and day.”

But Wilson knew it wasn’t going to be a slam dunk. “I had a lot to figure out,” he explains. “I had all these questions about who he was and why he does the things that he does and all the backstory. There is a lot of legwork that we have to do as actors to figure out what we’re doing each day to make it as honest as possible and to understand where this guy is coming from. This is something that presented itself to me to let me flex my range and jump into something completely different from Ben. Day one on the set, I realized that we had something special, because of who I’m surrounded by — Wally Kurth [Justin], Zach Tinker [Sonny], Judi Evans [Bonnie] and John Aniston [Victor], who’s a legend. I’m working with some great people. They’re the coolest family in town. They’ve got everybody.”

But he was still concerned about how it would all play out. “Everything was nerve-racking to me until day one,” he reflects. “I did not expect that. I had so many questions and thoughts. I wanted to make sure I catered to the fans and catered to the work to make sure everything was right. I was a little nervous for the first time in a while. Then I walked out on set in this whole new environment, and it was the funniest first day ever. The first time you see this guy is the best, to have the chemistry that I had with Wally and Judi and Suzanne Rogers [Maggie]. I’m surrounded by so many great people that after day one, my nerves went away. I was very excited. I thought, ‘This is going to be everything we did with Ben but 10 times more.’ There’s something good here. There was something that made me lose my anxiety of what to do and just know that it was going to work out.”

As for the “Cin” romance coming to an end on screen, Wilson points out, “The beauty of it is they sailed them off and gave them a happy ending. They tried to appease the fans who have been there for [their love story]. And there’s always an opportunity for Ben to come back. What we see happening with Alex and what we’re filming, though, I think he may be here to stay, but who knows.”




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