Ever since coming to Salem as a struggling model 16 years ago, “Days of our Lives’” Nicole (Arianne Zucker) has been on a non-stop whirlwind journey filled with emotion, tears and a whole lot of super soapy drama. And for the first time in that near two decades, the character is about to embark in an entirely new direction that may elicit some surprise from fans!
Having gone through the ringer as of late, Nicole finds herself in a precarious position emotionally — which leads her down a path with someone special from her past. “She’s at that point in her life where literally, if you look at the depth of her… both her parents are dead, she has an estranged relationship with her sister, her brother is God knows doing what, she can’t have children, and she can’t adopt, and the love of her life hates her and is playing the victim, so she’s trying to find a way to rekindle a relationship,” she explains, adding that Dr. Daniel Jonas (Shawn Christian) is the lucky man this time around! “Daniel seems to be, at the moment, the only one who’s left the door open. Maybe Brady, but Brady has got his own stuff going on right now… So Daniel is the only one who’s opening that door a little and allowing some forgiveness to happen. And Nicole has a lot of work to do, and I think that’s what you’re going to see is this build of Nicole trying to just be honest with herself.”
The result, she reveals, is not necessarily a redo of a romantic love story for the pair, but rather a refreshing break for her alter ego. “It’s a lot of fun… and I don’t think my character has ever just had fun on the show,” she says. “She’s always been in some kind of mess. You see her in an episode, and it’s like, ‘Oh, this is going to work, everything is going to be wonderful,’ and then something happens and she’s doing something bad. Right at this moment, you’re just going to see some fun color. It’s maybe not as exciting, but it’s definitely a change for the character.”
And it’s also quite a change for Zucker, too. “I’m not crying!” she says with a laugh. “It’s a nice break, because I feel like I’m crying every time I turn around. Something is happening or nobody likes her. But yeah, we’ve had a lot of fun. A lot of silliness on set.”
Speaking of fun on set, we recently asked James Scott (ex-EJ DiMera) to name his favorite storyline, and he said it was the baby swap storyline featuring Nicole and Sami (Alison Sweeney). Zucker also named it her favorite. “It was really special to all of us,” she recalls. “It ran for two years, and just the deception, and the way that, for myself, I had to find a way for the fans to stay connected to me as well, as much as Sami, because I was taking her baby. But I was trying to find the justification of, ‘Oh god, I hope this doesn’t corner my character.’ So that was really fun for me to be able to play and work with that and work with everybody and kind of prove that this character has more value.”