Jamie Martin Mann

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Jamie Martin Mann wraps up his brief but memorable run as tortured teen Tate Black on a high note on April 4: after six months of angst and drama, including being arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and sent to rehab, his DAYS OF OUR LIVES character was finally exonerated, much to the actor’s delight.

“I felt a lot of gratitude that I had the chance to close the storyline,” says Mann. “It was extremely fulfilling both for the character and also just for me, acting-wise, to be able to see the other side [of Tate’s predicament], to be able to actually step out, go back and re-encounter that sense of normalcy.”

It was Mann’s decision to leave the show — and by no means was it one he reached easily. The actor, who spent his entire tenure with the soap dividing his time between the West Coast, where DAYS films, and the Midwest, where he attends the University of Michigan, and ultimately chose to prioritize his education over his career. “I filmed the last two weeks of the show in the first month of my junior year,” shares Mann, who came to the realization that “traveling back and forth would’ve been a considerable impediment to [obtaining a] musical theater degree. I know it seems very hoity-toity and aloof, and it’s not a ‘real’ major, but there is a considerable amount of work and it requires a lot of time in class. I mean, acting is all experience. Reading about acting only gets you so far, and having the practical application is such an imperative part of the major. So to miss class when you’re in an acting program can be extremely detrimental. I knew that and understood that trying to juggle [his DAYS duties with his scholarly pursuits] at the same time would’ve been a detriment to the work that I was doing in school.

“I also think it would not have been fair to the show and to my fellow castmates to be not dedicating the time required to [the job],” continues Mann. “You’re only as good as your partner. If you’re working with a scene partner who’s not prepared and who’s not fully committed, it’s not fair. And it’s not fun to do that. I didn’t want to put any of those fellow actors that I respected so much through that position.”

So, after “a lot of conversations with my parents about finishing my major and getting my bachelor’s degree,” it became clear to the actor that he needed to step away from Salem. “As much as I love the show, I love my school and the people and the community that I’ve developed here over two years,” he asserts. “In the end, the pros outweighed the cons to stay and finish out my degree at the age that is stereotypically normal, maintain all the friendships that I have, and not put my college degree on hold. I also think part of that was just the fear that I would never find the time to finish it out. I really just want to be able to close this chapter before I inevitably enter the industry again.”

Mann describes his last day of work on the DAYS set as “really special,” and recalls, “I think the last thing I filmed was one of the journal entry scenes. I talked to the hair and makeup artists for a while. I got to say hello to Eric [Martsolf, Brady], and I think Emily [O’Brien, Theresa] was there, too. I wrote some people cards thanking them for making my time on set super-special…. The chance to work with everyone was so awesome. It was amazing, and it was an invaluable learning experience. You learn so many lessons on that set. You learn how to prioritize and how to work super-quick.” While “to leave [DAYS] was quite difficult” because he “wanted to stay and continue to work with all of my favorite people,” he says that “in the end, I knew it was the right decision.”

Mann forged friendships with several of his DAYS co-stars that he cherishes. “The big three are Ashley [Puzemis, Holly], Emily and Eric. I still talk to them,” he notes. “Those are the ones I got to know the most; especially Ashley, because we’re very similar ages, and we came on at the same time. So we both kind of walked into Willy’s chocolate factory with a similar awe factor and had to find our way. I was glad to have her to do that with. There’s also Carson [Boatman, Johnny] and Dan [Feuerriegel, EJ]. Dan was so fun, and Arianne [Zucker, Nicole] was so sweet. It was fun doing scenes where Dan was angry with me, and then the cameras would cut, and we’d laugh about it. It was fast, it was crazy, and it was fun.”

Eric Martsolf, Jamie Martin Mann

XJJohnson/jpistudios.com

Pop Culture: Mann keeps in touch with on-screen dad Eric Martsolf (Brady).

Among other scenes that stood out to Mann during his time on the soap, he recalls some fun interactions with his TV parents. “Eric’s really good at lifting scenes off the page,” says Mann. “And Emily and I were both so on board with following his lead. Those were my favorite moments, when we were improv’ing. I remember when we filmed the Christmas episode, eating all that Chinese food. It was very improv-based and silly. That’s so fulfilling as an actor.”

As for what Mann will miss most about being on DAYS, he cites “the people and the experiences on set. We were able to find all the lighthearted moments among all that chaos that we were acting through. The environment is so supportive, and everyone is so supportive of each other, and that is not necessarily the norm. I know that hasn’t been the norm on every set that I’ve worked on — at least people aren’t as outwardly kind and caring. It’s such an ideal within the DAYS set to be as caring as possible to keep the ship afloat, as they say. But it really does pay off, because you feel a sense of comfort, and you feel a sense of safety with all your fellow actors.”

Mann also felt a sense of comfort with the show’s fans, who supported him from day one. “I appreciate every single interaction that I’ve had with them,” he says. “We did some Zoom Q&As, and all of the fans that I met are so supportive and so caring. Their involvement in the show is what makes it what it is. Every conversation that I’ve had with them has just been so fulfilling. I appreciated meeting them so much. And I hope to continue to stay in their good graces, even though it’s very unfortunate that I won’t be on the show anymore.”

Mann believes that in terms of Tate’s storyline, the timing of his exit bodes well for Leo Howard, the actor coming in to replace him. “I was glad for him to come in with a blank slate, rather than having to pick up in the middle of some really intense material,” he explains. “I also think that, for the viewers, it’s going to be a little bit less jarring, because he gets to start fresh in this moment. I watched Leo as a kid in KICKIN’ IT [the 2012-15 series Howard starred on for Disney], and he’s awesome. I’m really excited to see what fresh take he brings, and I’m glad that he has the material to justify that.”

Still, he allows, it was “a bummer” that he didn’t get the chance to delve deeper into playing a happier Tate after months of on-screen brooding. “But the sadness of leaving the show itself definitely overshadowed the sense that I wasn’t going to be able to continue to play the role, because the community on that set is so marvelous,” praises the actor. “It fosters such great work, and everyone is super-caring.”

And he is more than open to the possibility of making a Salem comeback down the line. “I’m graduating in 2025, so I hope that at some point in time I get to work with everyone at DAYS again,” says Mann, winking, “Maybe I can come back as some cryogenically frozen specimen.”

 

 


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