Poor Charlie went out with a bang when he was shot dead by one of his litany of enemies on Days of our Lives. It means the end of the line for actor Mike Manning, who’s been playing the inept Titan intern turned rapist since October 2020.
Mike Manning — Goodbye Charlie
But don’t worry, you’ll still get to see him for a while, courtesy of some newly created flashbacks of what happened to Charlie during his final hours. In the interim, Manning reflects on his Salem run, what he’ll miss most about the gig, and whether or not he might ever return to the soap.
Soap Hub: Honestly, I’m very sad to see you go.
Thank you. I’ve heard that from a lot of people. [Leaving] is kind of bittersweet. I don’t want to go, but at least I’m leaving knowing that my time there was… We got as much out of the character that we could have.
In a way you got to play two different characters: Claire’s (Isabel Durant) sweet boyfriend and Allie’s (Lindsay Arnold) repugnant rapist. What was that experience like for you?
What I really tried to do with Charlie is show both sides, because you can have good people that do bad things. Or you could have bad people that are genuinely trying to become better, that have things they’ve done in their past and are trying to forget. I love playing complex characters, and I will say that Charlie is the most challenging character I’ve ever played.
What would you cite as a high point from your time on the show?
My high point on the show, in a really sick way, was getting to play the crazy, like the scenes between Tamara [Braun, Ava] and me when she was tied up during Christmas. One of my favorite lines was, “Maybe I should put some lights on you,” and dress her up like a Christmas tree. That whole episode we really got to see Charlie enjoy spending the holidays with his mother for the first time. It just so happened that she was tied up to a chair. That was really fun to play. I’m not sure I’m going to get to play that many times in my career.
Were you familiar with Tamara, before you started working with her?
No, but I watched her work when I found out she was going to be my mother. I wanted to be familiar with her. The very first day on set, when we were running through things, we had a really nice moment. In between shooting our first scene and our second scene, she gave me a hug. Immediately, I felt that bond, that mother-son chemistry. She has been such a great actress to work with. She made it easy to feel that I’d known her my whole life.
What are you going to miss about Days of our Lives?
Mostly, I’m going to miss the cast. I got to work with so many great people and got close to so many great people. I’m going to miss seeing them every day. Also, Lucas [Adams, Tripp] and I have been friends for years, outside of the show. So it was really fun to act with him. That was really great. I felt really comfortable trying things and going different places with him because we have that friendship.
What have you learned from your experience at DAYS that you’ll take with you to your next acting job?
I’ll take with me a level of freedom because with DAYS there are so many words and so many scenes. They move so quickly. You prepare as much as you can, but you just have to go to set and sort of jump off the cliff and see what happens. There’s a level of freedom in that, in just trusting the other actors and trusting the work and the story. I’ve never been forced to rely on that trust so much before. I’ll definitely take that with me.
Do you have any new work projects lined up?
I have a movie out, right now. It’s a civil rights movie executive produced by Spike Lee called Son of the South. I think it’s especially [relevant], because of what’s going on in our country right now. I have a really great role in that. It has Lucas Till in it, Lucy Hale, Cedrick the Entertainer… I’m really proud of that.
Anything you’d like to say to DAYS fans?
I just want to say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” They didn’t judge Charlie right away. They gave him a chance to show who he was before it was revealed what he had done. It’s been so fun interacting with fans on Twitter and social media. I’m going to miss them.
Does anything stand out from your interactions with them?
This the first time I’ve ever had a … What is it, a squish name? The fans gave Claire and Charlie the hashtag “Chaire” on Twitter. It’s the first time I’ve ever had that in my life. They’d post scenes of the hugging scenes or kissing scenes or stuff between Charlie and Claire. That was really fun to experience. I feel the fans were just as much a part of the romance as Charlie and Claire were.
Would you like to do another soap?
I’ll tell you this, when I first signed on to the show I was terrified because they move so fast. It’s a lot of work and a lot of pages. I didn’t know how I was going to feel about it. Now that I’ve done it, I would love to do another daytime soap. It’s really fun. It’s exciting. It’s almost like live theater. You go in. You get one or two takes, and you trust the other actors. You trust the team and see how it goes. I would say if I was presented with another opportunity, I would consider doing another show.
There’s also the option of returning to Days of our Lives. There are a lot of twins in Salem and people come back from the dead a lot.
Yeah. Who knows. I might come back. and they could do some mind stuff on him to make him a good guy. I mean, if there’s hope for Ben Weston, then there’s hope for all of us.
Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.