Catching up with Eric Winter: Former ‘Days’ hunk heats things up on ‘Wildfire’
published: Saturday | January 20, 2007
Eric Winter (ex-Rex Brady, Days of Our Lives) was a psychology student at UCLA when his girlfriend at the time, who was studying acting, recommended that he get into modeling and acting.
“It didn’t even occur to me that every person who lived in L.A. aspired to be a model or an actor,” Eric says. “I took some acting classes in college for fun and really liked it.” But it wasn’t until it was mentioned that he should try it for a living that he thought about actually giving it a shot.
“She got me to get some pictures taken, we sent them off and I got an agent. The next thing I know, I got some Tommy Hilfiger modelling campaigns,” he explains. And it all just snowballed from there.
So far, Eric is perhaps best known for his role as Rex Brady on Days of Our Lives. The bachelor’s degree in psychology that he earned at UCLA certainly helped him with that role. “The funny thing is that Rex was the weirdest character I’ve ever played. My degree always helps. It helps to break down a character, to further the process of character exploration. It also helps me in the business side of acting.”
Fans who have missed seeing him in Salem can now watch him on ABC Family – he’ll be guest-starring until the end of February on that network’s hit show, Wildfire. He plays R.J. Blake, a bull rider who shows up in town and gets under Dani Davis’ skin.
“This is a really, really fun character. I hope I get to play a character like this again,” Eric says. “He’s a professional bull rider, he’s charming and charismatic. But he needs a girl to put him in his place. It’s tough, because I can’t make him too much of jerk because I also want to make him likable.”
Those of us who are used to seeing Eric as a brainiac scholar (with great looks and a six-pack to match!) are going to get to see him in a whole new light. “R.J. is a real guy’s guy. He moves to the beat of his own drum.”
Another aspect of his new character that really revved Eric up was getting to shoot those scenes on a bull. “When we shot the bull-riding scenes, I didn’t actually ride the bull, but I did get to saddle up on them. They’re just knocking you all over the place as you’re sitting in the cage waiting to be let out (into the bull-riding arena). And you can just feel the power of these animals under you.”
But there’s no need to worry about Eric’s safety during the filming of these scenes. “As soon as they got the shot and were about to open the gate, they yelled “Cut!” and I got off the bull and the stunt rider got on.”
While his time on Wildfire couldn’t last forever, Eric had a blast while he was there. “I had such a great time. I was caught off-guard by how accepting they were. They even gave me one more episode than I was originally cast for. I felt like my run was really well-received.”
So, what’s in the works for Eric now that his time at ABC Family has ended? “I’m heading out to Shreveport, La., next week for two and a half weeks of filming for the new Harold and Kumar movie. I play Colton, the fiancé of one of the lead guys’ ex-girlfriend. It’s amazing how popular those guys are; they’re like the Cheech and Chong of our generation.”
We’ll all be watching for you on the silver screen, Eric. And break a leg!