Soap Opera Digest: How did you come to your decision to leave DAYS?
Lamon Archey: It was gradual. It was something that had been building probably for over a year, just with my other job — doing the recurring role on ALL AMERICAN — and [wanting to be] able to get out there and do other things. I’ve always had that fire in me to do something else. When I booked DAYS, I was so excited. But even if you had asked me then and there, “Is this where you stop?”, I would have told you, “No.” There’s so many more things that I want to do. I had a talk with my manager and my agent. I basically told them I didn’t want to do a contract anymore. I was down to do recurring, but I just didn’t want to be tied down and not have the freedom to pursue other jobs, play other characters. It’s something [DAYS] couldn’t deal with, and I got that. There were too many obstacles to cross over. They ultimately made the decision that they couldn’t keep me on recurring status and that was that. It’s one of those things where sometimes you need a push to leave that job. It was a blessing in disguise, because that’s what I needed.
Sal Stowers: It was definitely not an easy decision for me to make. It’s something I’ve been going back and forth with for a while. I’ve been on the show just about seven years. As an artist, there just comes a time when you want to try to see what else you’re capable of doing. I put so much into my work, and I’ve given so much to Lani. I know her like the back of my hand, and I love her so much, which is why it was so hard for me to make the decision to walk away from her. But life is short, and you’ve got to live. You’ve got to take risks and dream big-ass, bold dreams, just try other opportunities. That’s what it was about for me, taking the risk in my career and trusting that I’m going to be okay.
Digest: Obviously, the two of you discussed this.
Archey: Yeah. Sal is such a great friend. We absolutely loved working together. We had talked about this for a long time. We would always check back in with each other, like, “Are you still planning on leaving?” “Are you [thinking about] going on recurring?” We always would check back in with each other.
Stowers: We had talks. Lamon was obviously working on another series and doing his thing. I was kind of going back and forth with what I wanted to do. The timing of it [just worked out]. Our contracts were up at the same time.
Digest: Were you happy to be written off the show together?
Stowers: It just seemed that that’s what was going to happen. It just kind of worked out that way, honestly. I think we both were like, We are Eli and Lani. We are “Elani”, and we wanted to be the ones to carry that torch all the way.
Archey: We both said, “If you leave, I’m leaving. I’m kind of riding the wave with you.” We created such a bond and a team, and we kind of stuck to that. I am glad we got to walk off into the sunset, to use a cliché, together. It was something special that the show did.
Stowers: Lamon and I have a very wonderful friendship, and we had a connection together on this show. The work that we’ve put into these characters together is so special. We just knew with us both leaving that we needed to do this together. And it was something that [the show was] going to allow us to do together. We were going to get to take these characters as far as we can take them, and then say our good-byes together. It was obviously very hard, because we’ve been working together for so long, but I think the timing of it was just right.
Digest: Lamon, are you still doing ALL AMERICAN or has that come to an end?
Archey: Good question. On the last episode of season 4, my character proposed and got engaged to the main character’s mother. Also, on top of that, she and I said we were going to move to Oakland. So it was left open-ended. Who knows what’s going to happen? It’s kind of what happens every season. They break, and you don’t know what the writers are going to do when they get back in that room. We’ll see what happens.
Digest: How do you feel about the way your characters were written off?
Archey: I personally would have done something different, but I understood what was going on. Working with my schedule, working with Covid and two actors that were recurring … DAYS was in a position where every time they had an episode, they had to reach out to my agent to see if I was available. They didn’t want to worry about if I was available; they had to move on. They need working actors who can come in when they need them. They have a show to run. Being in the position that we were in, they didn’t have enough time to mess around with Covid and our schedules, so they had to move a little quicker.
Stowers: I loved the whole story. This is hands-down probably my favorite story of my seven years being there. I think my last episode is probably my best work. I felt very “leading lady” in those scenes. I was so connected and so present. Eli and Lani are a big part of Salem and I wanted all of that to play. I think it did. You can see the beauty and how these characters evolve in the last few episodes.
Digest: What do you miss most about playing Lani and Eli?
Archey: To be honest, I miss working with Sal. That’s one thing that I will say. Just the bond that we had built. We literally built “Elani” from the ground up, saw them grow and become this force, saw them become something that the fans fell in love with. That’s one of the things I miss the most. There’s not one particular thing about Eli that stands out to me. It’s more about the bigger picture.
Stowers: Lani was just so easy for me to jump into. I love how fierce she was and so protective. She went after what she wanted. I also miss the family dynamic for sure and Lani’s job as a detective. She wanted to do good in the world. She wanted to make a difference. I loved her as a mother. Seeing Lani become a mother and being able to bring that side of me out are reasons why I want to become a mother, too.
Digest: Is there a storyline, a moment or something that stands out for you from your time on DAYS?
Archey: One storyline that I always remember and had such fun doing was Lani and Eli’s first wedding, where everything went to sh*t. The buildup to that and seeing it come to an explosion like it did … I liked that story. That was fun.
Stowers: It was so special to experience David Abraham [Lani and Eli’s stillborn son]. Having Carver and Jules was very special to me. It definitely made me want to realize my own dreams of becoming a mother. Also, her father/daughter duo. James [Reynolds, Abe] is my heart. I love the father/daughter relationship Lani and Abe built over the years.
Digest: What were your last day and final scenes like?
Archey: Our last scenes were in the detective station. I remember after we did our last one, Albert [Alarr, co-executive producer] came out and thanked us in front of the whole crew. We each got to say our good-byes and thank everyone. That was the time where I thought I was going to get emotional, but there were no tears. Overall, it was bittersweet. It’s something that I knew was coming. I was prepared for it.
Stowers: I actually have a video from that day. It was a really sad day. I was very emotional. In my last scenes, there was a special little moment that happened with the family that just tore me to pieces. Of course, Carver and Jules were there, which was actually sad, too. I’ve never really gotten to do a lot of screen time with Carver and Jules. So I finally get to do it and, of course, it’s my last episode. They were so lovely and warm and loved being with me. It was a really hard day for me. I left crying. I came home, and I cried in the shower.
Digest: Can we assume that the door is open for your return to the show, if you ever choose to?
Archey: I guess you can assume that. It’s always a beautiful thing to know that should you decide to revert back, you still have a job. That’s always a great thing to know that you’re wanted and they appreciated the work that you did. That for sure is a blessing.
Stowers: I would hope so. I think so. I definitely left feeling very loved, that if I ever wanted to, I could pick up the phone and call Albert and be like, “Hey. I miss Lani and am ready to come back.” I’m pretty sure that would be made possible for me and Lamon.
Digest: Who do you think you’ll stay in touch with?
Archey: I still talk to Billy [Flynn, Chad]. I just texted him today. I talked to Sal a couple of days ago. Robert [Scott Wilson, Ben] and I spoke. We talked about going to the gun range. It’s really fun. Expensive, but really fun.
Stowers: Marci [Miller, ex-Abigail], of course. She’s my world, and I’m her daughter’s godmother. She’s in my life forever. I’m going to talk to pretty much everyone. I love everyone. Lamon, James, Jackée [Harry, Paulina], Raven [Bowens, Chanel], Lindsay [Arnold, Allie], Linsey [Godfrey, Sarah], the hair and makeup team. When you have these deep, meaningful relationships, you can’t just let them go.
Digest: Any final thoughts about your DAYS experience or parting words for the fans who supported you?
Archey: The fans rode the wave with us through ups and downs, through breakups and coming back together. I would definitely give them the biggest thanks. Without the fans, “Elani” wouldn’t be what they are today. I would say 90 percent of the glory would go to them, and Sal and I will take five percent each.
Stowers: I know I will always have a home at DAYS. It was a big part of my life, and I love everyone so much. They gave me such an amazing opportunity, and this character that I was able to build from the ground up and make into this beautiful heroine and powerful woman. There are no words to [express] my gratitude. I’m so honored and humbled to have walked this journey as Lani.