Show business runs in the family of Bryan Datillo, Lucas Roberts on “Days of Our Lives.” His older sister, Kristen, is an actress, and his mother, Peggy Datillo, used to keep tabs on famous celebrities through as a writer for the National Enquirer.
“You said it, I didn’t!” says Datillo with a laugh at the mere mention of his mom’s tabloid past. “Yes, she used to write for them, but she’s not an editor there anymore. She’s a producer-writer now. She’s got about three or four scripts she’s written that are out to some production people. Mom’s plugging away; she’s working hard.”
The actor is working just as hard on his own career. Since joining “Days” in early 1993, Datillo has been carving out quite a niche for himself as the show’s resident teen bad boy.
“Lucas has gotten to be quite a schemer, says Datillo, which is interesting to play.” There are a lot of different levels to him. He’s a manipulator who knows he can pull the wool over people’s eyes.
“He’s like that because of where he came from,” Datillo continues. “Lucas has had to look out for himself his whole life, because he’s always been on his own. Manipulating people is the way he’s learned to take care of himself and get what he wants.”
Datillo, who has been acting since the age of 11, got his start on “Wish Upon a Star,” a Disney Channel production.
“I told them I wanted to be an actor and comedian,” he says. “I said all my friends thought I was funny; so did my teachers and family. They decided to grant my wish, and I got to perform in front of a live audience. I did a comedy routine with Byron Allen at the Improv. It was incredible.”
From then on, Datillo knew acting was in his blood. After briefly living in Florida, his family moved back to California. It was during his junior and senior years of high school there that he pursued his craft with a vengeance.
“I started taking cold-reading classes,” he says. “They taught me how to get used to interviews and really helped me with my concentration and relaxation.”
Theater and episodic TV work followed, before he landed his big daytime break. Although it was an adjustment, Datillo has adapted to the medium.
“As I’ve gotten into a routine, it’s gotten a lot easier,” he says. “My short-term memory has improved. I’ve learned how to hold on to lines, then let them go the next day.”
Datillo has also picked up pointers from Deborah Adair, who plays his on-screen mother, Kate Roberts.
“I love working with Deborah,” he says. “She’s so professional about everything she does, and she handles herself so well in every scene. I really look up to her.”
The twosome have really bonded off camera as well.
“I gave Deborah flowers this past Mother’s Day,” says Datillo. “And when it started getting hot this summer, she surprised me with a little fan for my dressing room. We both look out for each other,” he adds with a smile.
Just like a real-life mother and son!
“Days of Our Lives” airs weekdays at noon on KNBC.