Days of Our Lives recast the role of Theresa with Emily O’Brien shortly after Jen Lilley returned to the role she had played on and off for decade. Lilley recently dished about what went down to People magazine.
Jen Lilley had contacted Days about returning for the tribute to John Aniston, who played Victor Kiriakis and passed away November 14, 2022. They asked her to come back for a 12 week arc but she told them that due to other commitments she couldn’t commit to return for that long. She agreed to come back for four weeks with the understanding that they would be cramming the filming for the entire 12 weeks into that time.
Former Co- Executive Producer, Albert Alarr, who has since been let go, filled Lilley in on the storyline they had planned for Theresa and she was very excited. On her first day back she met Emily O’Brien, who plays Gwen Rizczech, and the two got to know each other. Lilley had no idea that Emily would be taking over the role of Theresa in a few weeks time. “We’re catching up in the line. All the while, poor thing knows that she’s the recast. At that point, nobody else knew.” Lilley told People.
The second week of her return, Jen started to get suspicious that something weird was going on because her filming schedule had been lighter than she expected and her upcoming filming schedule was as well. She ended up in Alarr’s office and that was when she was told that they were recasting the role and who they were recasting her with. She pointed out that Emily O’Brien is a brunette while Theresa is blonde and was told, “We’re just going to throw a wig on her.”
Lilley said she went to O’Brien after she found out and “just hugged her.” Jen told her, “‘I’m so sorry. That must’ve been so awkward for you. I didn’t know you’ve known for three weeks.” She offered O’Brien her number and to “champion” her recasting because she knows how negative some fans can be toward recasts.
Lilley says that after she wrapped filming, Alarr left her “a really nice voicemail” and told her that Emily would only be in the role of Theresa to finish out the 12 week arc they had planned. Jen told People “That’s not cool to do to Emily. I think Emily drew the shortest straw, honestly. I was like, ‘That is the worst thing you could possibly do to a recast is be like, we’re going to wig you and make you just walk through fire for eight weeks.’ I don’t know whether it was a budgetary thing or a scheduling thing where they just couldn’t work the schedule out so everybody could do it. I don’t know their reasoning. It’s a little befuddling, but I still am really grateful that I got to go back.”
“Right now, outlets are reporting that I thought they were bluffing about recasting Emily, that’s not the truth.” Jen Lilley told People as to why she wanted to set the record straight. She also said she wasn’t holding a grudge against the show. ““I love doing Days. I stayed way longer than I ever thought I would because I loved them so much, so I was like, no love lost. I love you guys.”
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