‘The Young and the Restless’ Alum Emily O’Brien Auditioned for Another ‘Days of our Lives’ Role Before Landing Her Current One

Former The Young and the Restless star Emily O’Brien has returned to daytime soaps for the first in years. She’s currently gelling into her role as Gwen on Days of our Lives. Recently, O’Brien revealed that she actually auditioned for another role (or two) before ending up as Gwen.

Emily O'Brien
Emily O’Brien | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Emily O’Brien came back to daytime

O’Brien is not a stranger to daytime soaps. She is most known for playing Jana Hawkes on The Young and the Restless. O’Brien was in the role from 2006-2011 and was nominated for three Daytime Emmys for her work.

In May, it was officially announced that she would be joining Days of our Lives. The news originally leaked late last year. She comes onto the canvas as a pal of Claire Brady at Bayview. She spoke about returning on Instagram, writing, “After 8 months of discretion, I can finally share with you that I have returned to Daytime TV, 10 years later. But this time, I have joined the multi faceted [sic] family over at Days of Our Lives. It feels odd to post this during such turbulent times, but if you need a respite from the news, we are one of the very few scripted shows left running on air.”

On the character, head writer Ron Carlivati said, “In order to put an end to this situation with the people who are after him, Jake has to track down his ex, the mischievous Gwen. I don’t want to give too much away. She is kind of the key to him resolving the issues with these bad people. It will also be interesting to see how Gabi reacts when she finds out that Jake has an ex-girlfriend.”

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The actress auditioned for Sarah Horton

In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, O’Brien revealed that she initially auditioned for the role of Sarah Horton. Of course, we know that the role eventually went to former The Bold and the Beautiful storm, Lindsey Godfrey. Still, the top brass at the show still kept her in mind and called her a year later for a role they thought she could be in.

“I went in three times and screen-tested with Greg Vaughan [Eric], but I wasn’t right for that,” she said, “They just envisioned somebody different.” O’Brien went in to read for this role and still didn’t get this one. However, they still wanted her to have a role and join the show, so they morphed a character to fit her, which is how she became Gwen.

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This news was twisty to hear for O’Brien. “I remember going in and it was very ominous in the room,” she said. “[Casting Director] Marnie Saitta and [Co-Executive Producer] Albert Alarr said, ‘Well, we’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that you’re not going to be playing this role, but there’s a new role that we want to mold around you.’ That’s when the character of Gwen was born.”

Days of our Lives airs weekdays on NBC.