Forget what you’d concluded about DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ Stefan O. DiMera. His current portrayer, Brandon Barash, is making the character his own. “Reading it on the page, you can certainly infer that Stefan is evil or that he’s out to take what is rightfully his and screw everybody that gets in his way,” the actor suggested to Soaps In Depth. “But that guy is just not interesting to watch for me.”
Rather, what drew the former star of GENERAL HOSPITAL (where he played bad boy Johnny Zacchara) back to daytime was the opportunity to play Stefan’s duality. “He can be one way with one person in a certain situation and another way with somebody different,” his portrayer observed. “He can also be two very different people with the same person, as you’re kind of seeing with Gabi. As an actor, you have to go deeper, and that’s where I really start to enjoy myself and geek out.”
While all of that makes Stefan’s response to any given situation unpredictable, Barash said that his human nature makes him relatable. “Stefan is an orphan, and one of his driving forces is wanting to have the family experience,” the actor mused. “Even if he sometimes doesn’t want to believe that, or thinks that he’s tough and doesn’t need a relationship or a family to define who he is, Stefan absolutely does crave it.”
To that end, both of the women in the CEO’s life — single moms Chloe and Gabi — have the potential to fill that void, but in unique ways. “Chloe would be a great partner for him because she represents the maternal side: what he’s always kind of longed for [and lost after Vivian was presumed dead],” Barash observed. “On the other side of that coin is Gabi, who’d be a great fit for him because together, they really feel that they could conquer the world and accomplish whatever they want as far as business goes. And there’s fire between them, for sure!
However, while Chloe’s feelings for Stefan come from a place of gratitude and friendship, Gabi’s stem from intense disdain for the fact that he helped put her in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. In fact, she’s been seducing Stefan (as a favor to Brady) in an attempt to ruin his relationship with Chloe, while at the same time, succumbing to the genuine, if very unexpected, chemistry that they share.
Whichever lady winds up winning the heart of the DiMera heir might do well to remember his gene pool, lest he turn out to be a chip off the ol’ block! “There’s a different, more selfless side that’s woken up when you first make eye contact with your child, who is depending on you for everything,” Barash suggested. “Maybe if Stef were to become a father, that instinct would awaken in him, but I think he would struggle with it.
“It comes more naturally to me,” he concluded, “than it would to him.”
For more on your favorite DAYS stars, keep reading Soaps In Depth magazine.
Reporting by Michelle Moro Parkerton
This story originally appeared in our print magazine