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‘Days of Our Lives’ actor with Gainesville ties now ventures into movies

Chandler Massey up for a Daytime Emmy June 19

POSTED: June 12, 2011 1:30 a.m.
/For The Times

Chandler Massey, grandson of Gainesville residents Abit and Kayanne Massey, is up for a Daytime Emmy for his role as Will Horton on the NBC soap "Days of Our Lives."

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Although "Days of our Lives" has drawn in millions of viewers over its 46-year television history, the character of Will Horton has given local audiences a new reason to watch for the past year.

Horton is portrayed by actor Chandler Massey, grandson of Gainesville residents Abit and Kayanne Massey.

"I confess that I hadn’t watched the show before he (joined the cast), but after we found out he would be on it, Kayanne immediately ordered books about it," Abit Massey said.

"We enjoyed reading about the show’s early history and getting into the program. We’re big fans now. We wouldn’t miss an episode. We tape it every day."

Less than one year after receiving his diploma, the 2009 Norcross High School graduate auditioned for and received the role on the NBC daytime drama.

"It has been unreal. It’s been almost a year and a half. The time has really flown by," Chandler Massey said.

Since premiering on Feb. 1, 2010 as a member of one of the show’s core families, Massey has been winning the hearts of viewers and, most recently, the National Academy of Television of Arts and Sciences.

He has been nominated for the academy’s 2011 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Young Actor in a Drama Series.

"I found out that I’d been nominated from my publicist, Jeff Ballard. He came over to my house at about 9 in the morning. I was still asleep because I didn’t have to work that day," Massey said.

"I rolled out of bed still in my sweats to answer the door. When I open it, it’s Jeff and he’s recording me on his iPhone. He told me I was nominated for an Emmy and it took a few minutes to register because I’d just woken up.

"Then it hit me and I started freaking out. Then I had to call my mom."

His mom, Amy Massey of Norcross, will be his date for the awards show, which airs live June 19 on CBS. His dad, Lewis Massey, and grandfather also will fly to Las Vegas, where the award show is being held.

"I had decided I was going out there even if I couldn’t get a ticket to the show," Abit Massey said. "But luckily, he was able to get us tickets, so we’ll be in the audience."

Joining the cast of a show that has been on the airwaves longer than he’s been alive could have been intimidating, but the 20-year-old says that the Days cast and staff were nothing short of inviting.

"From day one, everyone was nothing but nice and welcoming. The veteran cast members showed me the ropes until I got the hang of it," Massey said.

"It’s been a great experience. I’ve really learned a lot. It has really helped be grow as an actor."

His character’s transformation has also helped Massey hone his skills.

"When I first took over the character, Will was a bratty teenager. He wasn’t getting the attention that he wanted from his mom, so he was being very rebellious," Massey said.

"Now he’s a young adult. He’s definitely matured a lot. He’s like the voice of reason in his family."

Although he doesn’t know what the future holds for his character — "The actors are the last to know," Massey says — he does know what he’d like to see in his own future.

Since shooting his first movie feature last year — "16-Love," which should be released soon — Massey says he’s been bitten by the big-screen bug.

"It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I’ve done some guest star roles on TV shows (like One Tree Hill and Army Wives), and of course I’m on Days, but this was a completely different machine," Massey said.

"I loved every minute of it. Being in films is definitely my ultimate goal."



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