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In the world of daytime, she could be called a newcomer though at such a young age, Camila Banus has already had roles on ABC’s One Life to Live and now plays Gabi Hernandez on NBC’s Days of our Lives. TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Sari N. Kent had the chance to speak to Camila about her daytime roles, past and present, as well as her role in an upcoming movie and a Days scoop.
TheCelebrityCafe: Your first role on daytime was playing ‘Lola Montez’ ABC’s One Life to Live from October of 2008 to May of 2009. How did that role come about for you?
Camila Banus: Well, I’d been sending several tapes from Miami, Florida out to California for Disney shows, Disney movies, things like that. Right before I graduated high school, I sent a tape to New York to One Life to Live expecting nothing to happen because I wasn’t getting any feedback from any of the tapes. But, the week I graduated, which was in '98, I got a call my manager saying that they wanted to screen test me for One Life to Live in New York and I was really excited because to be picked from a tape is really rare. So, I went to New York, did the screen test and actually went back a second time to do a second screen test and then they finally called me and told me I was chosen.
TheCelebrityCafe: On the show, you worked a great deal with hunky David Fumero, who played Christian. What was it like working with him?
Camila Banus: He was awesome! He’s Cuban, I am as well. He was real nice, very welcoming. He actually had my family and I over for lunch with his family, which was very nice. We had never been to New Jersey, which was where he was living. He showed us around and it was nice to be in that kind of environment. We felt like we were with people who were our friends and it was nice because we were practically alone in New York.
TheCelebrityCafe: You began playing the role of Gabi Hernandez on Days of our Lives in October of 2010. How did that role happen for you?
Camila Banus: Well, it’s a funny story. I came out to California after I finished One Life to Live and I was here for a year doing a few things and my manager said there was an audition for Days of our Lives for the character of Gabi. So, I went in and read for the role. It was actually a pretty long process. The first audition then the second audition, then I went in again to meet the casting director and the producer. Then, they said they wanted me for a screen test. I did the screen test and they ended up not choosing me. They ended up going with the other girl [Gabriela Rodriguez.] They told me that they wanted to go a little bit younger for the part. So, I put it out of my mind and said ‘Days is over. Keep on moving forward’ and I did.
A couple of months after, I received a call from the casting director letting me know that they wanted to age the character and that they would like to have me on the show. I actually said, ‘No.’ There were things happening in my career and I was up for a role in a movie and I said, ‘No.’ So, I again thought ‘Days is over’ and I said they were never going to call me again.
Then, a couple of months later, they called me again and asked if I had reconsidered. At that point I felt there was something there and that I HAD to do this, like it was something that was calling me and I said, ‘Yes.’
TheCelebrityCafe: Prior to your roles on One Life to Live and Days of our Lives, in 2006, you made an appearance on the hit Showtime crime drama Dexter. Was appearing on a television series any different than being on a soap?
Camila Banus: Yeah, it was pretty different. In that, one of the biggest differences is the pace. It takes a VERY LONG time to shoot an episode, [of a television series] like a week to two weeks because they go really slow. It’s a very slow, long process compared to the soap world where we do pretty much two or three episodes a day. Another difference is that you finish the episode [of the television series] and you move on. You never see those people again and on the show [Days] you see those people all the time and you get to know what they’re like and you get to be with them every day. It’s a different environment.
TheCelebrityCafe: On your Internet Movie Database profile, it says recently completed a movie entitled Counterpunch and that’s in post-production. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Camila Banus: Well, I’ve been wanting to films for a really long time and I never had the opportunity to work with a really great director like Kenneth Castillo. He offered me the role in Counterpunch, which is about a man dealing with his life and boxing. It’s an amazing film and we had a great cast. It was a chance for me to do something different from ‘Gabi’ and Days of our Lives. The character I play in the film is VERY different from ‘Gabi.’ She’s older, more mature, a businesswoman. It’s good to do thing you normally don’t do. I got to learn a little about boxing. I got to get in the ring. I got to meet different people and it was nice because I had the time to do it. It should be going out soon in a film festival and hopefully we’ll get it released too.
TheCelebrityCafe: Are there any tidbits you could tell me and my site’s readers about coming up on Days of our Lives?
Camila Banus: Well, it was just released that ‘Will’ [Horton, played by Chandler Massey] will turn out to be gay. So, there’s definitely going to be a storyline involving that and it’s of course, going to involve ‘Gabi’ [who ‘Will’ dated and slept with] and affect her. I don’t know how yet.