Days of our Lives new Mayor, Anthony Marino, is sure to bring a dose of excitement to Salem. At least, that’s what his portrayer, Matthew Borlenghi, is promising. Borlenghi (ex Brian Bodine, All My Children; ex Ziggy Deadmarsh, Bold and the Beautiful), who begins airing on Days of our Lives on Thursday, September 18, 2008, has given this oath to Soapdom:
“Even though this is only a recurring role, I will give it 110 percent,” he shared. “I have no idea right now how long the Mayor will be around. But based on the interaction my character is having with specific characters on the show, based on so much fun I am having with what the writers are giving me on the page to work with, and based on how much I genuinely like everyone there, I am on board whether it’s five months or five years.”
Borlenghi and I had several false starts to getting our interview underway. He was running some errands and as you may or may not know, traffic in and around Los Angeles these days is a bear. He kept calling to say he’d call back shortly. After he reached his destination and dropped his daughter off at a birthday party, he was finally able to call and talk with Soapdom for quite some time. First thing we had to know – what’s he been up to since his last soap role as B&B’s Ziggy Deadmarsh?
“I’ve done a lot,” he revealed. “But the biggest accomplishment I am most proud of -- besides getting married in 2003 and having a daughter in 2005 – was finally giving birth to my work baby that I had in my head for 15 years.”
The work baby in question is a movie titled “Jack Rio,” a story about a guy who is a very famous actor who can’t deal with his fame and acts out upon his feeling in terrible ways. “It’s a cross between Silence of the Lambs and Entourage,” said Borlenghi and was inspired by the fan adulation he experienced while playing Brian Bodine on All My Children. “I co-wrote the story, I star in it and I produced it. We did a lot in a short time period with a small budget, so I made sure I got people involved who could carry their weight.”
Like who? Some old daytime friends, of course.
“James Patrick Stuart (ex Will Cooney, All My Children) plays my agent in the film,” said Borlenghi. “Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe, Days of our Lives) plays a diva, and Sean Kanan (ex Deacon, Bold and the Beautiful) plays the less-than-admirable husband of my co star.” Borlenghi went on to explain that there’s a tv show within the film. “My film character name is Tommy Jamison. The name of the tv show within the film is Jack Rio and Tommy Jamison plays the lead character. Therein lies the problem. Tommy can’t get away from people relating to him as Jack.”
As noted, this story was born from Borlenghi’s All My Children days playing Brian Bodine. “I lived six blocks from ABC studios and I was stopped so often on the way home. It really became too much at times. I was really happy about the fans being so involved with what I was doing at the time, but I was beginning to wonder myself…am I Matt or am I Brian?”
Which brings us to Borlenghi’s new character on Days of our Lives, Mayor Anthony Marino. “That’s the big difference with the character I play now,” Borlenghi. With Brian Bodine -- and even with Ziggy Deadmarsh -- I was a young guy. The character of Brian was even younger. I was 23 and supposed to be playing 17. I thought that was silly and in a way, I resisted that a little bit. I can’t say that there were clear cut things that were different between Brian and me. It wasn’t a great stretch for me. Long as I was being true to the material – knowing what I needed to do to get thorough the scene – in an honest way – was enough.”
But playing the rather high brow Mayor of Salem is indeed a stretch for the actor. “I am a regular guy. During weekends I watch football, or wrench on my Harley – if I can figure out the problem with it. I’ve got that jeans and t-shirt mentality,” confided Borlenghi. “For me to be playing a role where I’m the Mayor of a city, and I’m a true and true politician, and perhaps not the nicest guy in the world – it’s really a funs stretch for me. To step out of myself and into another man’s shoes has really been a great ride so far.”
We pressed Borlenghi for more details on the new Mayor of Salem and found out that the character is a young guy, voted in based on certain voters’ ideals. “Perhaps a fresh, young face would bring a fresh, young philosophy to Salem,” shared Borlenghi. “He is recently voted in – so he’s the new Mayor. But he has been around a while -- in the background.”
How does Borlenghi like playing the character? “It’s really fun for me to lace up the nice leather shoes, to put those double Windsor knots in the tie, to really be a sharp dressed, sharp-tongued politician and really be the best guy for the people of Salem. At this point, I’ve decided that he’s really in love with himself. He is really in love with his power and we just don’t’ know --- and it will be determined over the long term -- if he’s interested in the people of Salem or in the good of Anthony Marino.”
Borlenghi landed this role like anyone else. I found myself in the casting director’s office. I had been there before with her and Ed Scott and Ken Corday for a different role. Thankfully, it worked out that they wanted to save me for something else. That first role ended up being more a glorified extra. So their patience and my patience worked out, because this is the role I was meant to play.”
What’s also fun about this role for Borlenghi, is that for the first time in his soap career, he gets to play an Italian American – his own heritage. “For Brian Bodine, I had to take my Italian heritage completely out of that one and endorse Jethro Bodine. I had to be more Beverly Hillbillies than Sopranos for that one. With Ziggy Deadmarsh I didn’t even know what to do with that. I tried to have fun with it. I got so many people looking at me saying what the hell is that? I tried to rip off Will Smith’s line from his song Just Get Jiggy with it, to Just Get Ziggy with it.”
“For the character of Anthony Marino, I was very please to see the name change made,” revealed Borlenghi. “Originally, and here’s an ironic little tidbit, originally I auditioned for a character named Mayor Crews. After I got the role, they changed the name to Anthony Marino. I was very flattered by that and excited that it would play more to my own ethnicity.”
In the irony column, after he booked the role on Days, he was offered the role to play an episode of the primetime series, Life. “The lead character of that show is detective Crews,” said Borlenghi with a smile. “I had no idea that anything was going to happen and then I had both these roles and that Crews name crossed from one show to the other. I was very flattered that Days would skew the name toward to my ethnicity -- Latin American or Italian. It really gave me a good feeling that they care about something like that. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but I’d like to think that they looked at what they had in the actor that they were going to put into this role, and then maybe they tailored the role a little bit to the actor.”
Borlenghi began taping in late August and his first airdate is September 18th. Who will Mayor Marino impact first in Salem? “My presence is affecting Abe Carver as police commissioner, Roman Brady’s life as his partner in the police station, and I am getting involved with the Brady family overall. I suppose that’s a good thing, when you’re working Days to be involved with the Brady’s.” Borlenghi admitted. His nickname for his character is Mayor Smarmy Charm. Does that mean he’ll have his eye on any of Salem’s lovely ladies? “He’s single, but I’ll answer that with a question for you. Do I or does he?” We will just have to stay tuned to find out.
Visit Matthew Borlenghi at Matthew Borlenghi.com .
Check out the trailer for Jack Rio below.
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