Blake Berris (known for his role as Nick Fallon on Days of our Lives) is gearing up to be a triple threat — actor, writer and director — for the feature film Fangirl. Not only is this movie deeply rooted in the soap opera fan community, but soap star A-listers Eileen Davidson (Ashley, The Young and the Restless), Galen Gering (Rafe, Days of our Lives) and Shawn Christian (ex-Daniel, Days of our Lives) have all been cast in this project. Learn more about Fangirl and how you can be a supporting player in Blake’s new movie!
OT: Tell us about Fangirl.
BB: Fangirl is about Mercy, a fan who travels to a soap opera fan convention to meet her favorite actor. She is a cool interesting person who happens to love this soap opera and has found this character and actor who speaks to her and means something to her. Really what the movie is about is the division between fan and “star” is not as much as she made it out to be in her head. I think everyone in the world engages in some sort of fantasy in their day to day life. We all kind of fantasize about versions of our life that play out in our heads and nowhere else. This movie kind of explores what happens when fantasy meets reality and what happens.
OT: Who do you play in Fangirl?
BB: I play a soap star named Blake Berris…
OT: What a stretch!
BB: (laughs) Well, it’s a terrible version of myself. Like a funhouse mirror worst version of myself.
OT: How did you come up with the idea of this script?
BB: Since I left Days of our Lives, writing has become more and more a part of my life. I was hired to write a couple of films for Lifetime with a writing partner. But I wanted to write something on my own. I’ve always been fascinated by the soap world and especially the soap fan events. I’d always been interested in writing something in that realm. At first, I centered it on the soap stars. But then when I centered the plot around a fan, the story really opened up and became a lot more interesting. We are going to film Fangirl by throwing a real fan event with real soap stars and fans. We realized that the cheapest, easiest and most authentic way to make this film was to throw a real event. Our soap stars are going to be in character while the fans are part of the process and the film.
OT: And you are also directing Fangirl as well?
BB: Yes. This will be my first time directing a feature. Jen Tullock is the star of the film while I’m a supporting character. Jen is just brilliant. She’s not only a friend of mine, but also one of my favorite actors in the world. She just booked a huge show called Severance with Ben Stiller executive producing and directing. She stars alongside Patricia Arquette and Adam Scott. So that has pushed our shoot dates a little bit. But it’s great for her as well as for the film.
OT: News is out now that soap stars Eileen Davidson, Galen Gering and Shawn Christian are now cast in the movie. How did you get them onboard?
BB: They’re all people that I had worked with when I was on Days. I didn’t know Eileen super well, but I was really always very enamored of her. She is just incredibly talented, one of those actors that you watch and ask “How did you do that?” Acting on a soap opera is really difficult because you don’t have that much time with your lines. I would just watch her on the monitor and wonder how is she so bold and free, given that she just learned the lines yesterday. She is one of the great talents. I am absolutely thrilled that she agreed to be in the film playing the role of “Catherine”. Galen has been a bud of mine for a long time. I actually sent him the script in its infancy over two years ago. He was really positive with feedback. I’m thrilled that he is coming on as”Ethan“. Shawn and I always had mutual respect for each other when we on Days. I really feel I hit the jackpot in terms of the level of talent that has agreed to come on.
OT: What was the experience like filming the trailer for Fangirl at an actual fan event (Starstruck YesterDAYS 2019)? Did that prepare you for what is to come?
BB: We knew we wanted to film there for the Seed & Spark fundraising campaign. Also, I thought it would be a good warm-up to just see what it would be like filming at a real event. We will have more control over the event that we throw, but I thought this would be a great way to warm into it. Paul and Keith (of Starstruck Fan Events) were so lovely and generous to let us film there.
OT: So tell us about the Seed & Spark crowdfunding campaign.
BB: We are in our final week (with the campaign ending on February 28th, 2020). One of the incentives is to attend our Fangirl movie event. It gives fans the chance to do all of the things that you would do at a normal fan event. We’ll have a Q&A, a picture and autograph section and tons of selfies. There will be a VIP dinner and a cocktail party. All of these scenes are plot points in the film where things happen. So if you come to the event, you will get to watch some actors that fans are familiar from soaps, primetime and film. And that’s just one of the incentives that people can find on our Seed & Spark page.
OT: On a personal note, congrats on being a new Dad! How do you manage your family and your career at the same time?
BB: Thank you! It’s really hard. My wife and I are both really supportive of each other. She is a much more experienced filmmaker than I am. And I’m really lucky to have her guidance on this because it is my first time directing a feature. She has two features under her belt along with many shorts. We do our best to make the childcare 50/50. It doesn’t always shake out that way unfortunately. But we both support each other and our artistic pursuits as well as we can. I’m very lucky to have such a great wife and son.
OT: Any other projects you can tell us about besides Fangirl?
BB: I’m about to go to Ireland for a few months to perform in the play The Little Foxes (written by LIllian Hellman) at the Gate Theater in Dublin. Elizabeth McGovern (star of Downton Abbey) is playing the lead role. Since my wife is Irish, we go to Ireland a lot; and we have seen tons of plays at this theater. We have fantasized about working on this stage. So I am thrilled to be able to be up there. I haven’t done theater since I was in college, but grew up doing it. It’s a really different high acting on stage. I’m very excited!