Whodda thunk that the famed DiMera henchman, Bart Beiderbecke, would meet his demise at the business end of a mighty sword? Certainly not Bart’s portrayer, Steve Blackwood, who was both surprised and saddened to learn that his alter ego was being written off the soap opera Days of our Lives for good.
Although -- of all the possible soap opera “ends to characters” that we’ve seen over the years like car crashes, murders, incurable diseases, plane crashes, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other such disasters -- or the unthinkable when All My Children’s Bobby Martin went up to the attic for a pair of skis and was never seen or heard from again -- a sword fight has got to rank up there as one of the more “romantic” ways to go.
According to Blackwood, it was a good screen death. He is satisfied with both the performance and all the hugs and good wishes he received from cast mates on his last day of filming.
“There wasn’t a dry eye on the set,” Blackwood revealed to the Associated Press. “But there was a lot of dried blood on my shirt. I spent more than a day and a half with a sword sticking out!”
However “romantic” Bart’s final scene, it was a far cry from what Blackwood expected when he returned to Days of our Lives about three months ago after an 18 month hiatus. During his year and a half away, the writing had left the DiMera’s and their feuding ways behind in favor of other stories focusing on newer, younger characters. But a change in writing staff rekindled the stories of old and Blackwood was asked back to reprise the role of Bart, integral personnel in the DiMera dynasty. About a month ago, he asked the producers in passing what was ahead for Bart. That’s when he got the dire news. Bart was going to be killed off. It was going to be exciting, but it was going to be over. Blackwood was not excited. He was crushed.
"When I read the script where I say my final lines, I got very sad and teared up,” Blackwood shared with the Associated Press. “My wife did, too. It’s very sad because it’s not you, but it IS you. I’ve been this guy for 10 years. That’s what I hope that not only this show, but other shows remember: We, as actors, have an attachment to the characters. When they’re killed off, a part of us dies, too.”
Realistically, he knows that show runners owe him nothing, but it would have made his final days on the show more palatable had he been better informed. “People don’t owe each other anything, but common respect is owed. I love those guys (the Days producers), but we could all use work on our people skills. Communication is key.”
According to Lynn Elber of the Associated Press, “If the producers knew Bart was destined to die, telling Blackwood when they hired him back would have allowed him to schedule auditions and club dates. So why didn’t they?”
Blackwood feels it could have been due to the financial negotiations. “If myself and my agent knew it was just a three-month arc, we would have negotiated differently.”
But alls well that ends well in love, swordfights and soap operas. “We did renegotiate in the middle of this, and they were very kind.”
And not to worry. The future looks bright for Blackwood. He opens September 28, 2007 at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in Neil Simon’s Prisoner of Second Avenue, and as a jazz singer and musician, he continues to perform in and around Los Angeles on a regular basis.
Blackwood’s last day as Bart on Days of our Lives airs Friday, August 3, 2007.
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