The following article was written by Diane Brounstein for Soap Opera Digest. To view the original article, click here.

Days of our Lives icon Deidre Hall is in episode seven of the acclaimed Jean Smart-led series, Hacks, that dropped today on the streaming service MAX.

In the episode, which is titled “The Deborah Vance Christmas Spectacular,” Hall is playing a fictional and heightened version of herself. Explains the actress, “It came about because of [Co-Creator and star] Paul Downs [who plays Jimmy]. Paul’s mother was a big fan of DAYS and a big fan of Marlena’s. And so he was put in front of a television set since he was a little kid. When this episode came up, there was a lot of conversation about who would be Arbuckle [another character in the script]. And so they thought, what an amazing move to have Christopher Lloyd [from Taxi and Back to the Future] do it. ‘Gosh, could we get him?’ And then his mother said, ‘Why don’t you get Deidre Hall [to play his mom]?’”

Needless to say, Hall didn’t require much persuasion. “Come on, being asked to play the showrunner’s mother at her request?” she marvels. “I mean, that’s such incredibly high praise. It was completely irresistible.”

Once Hall was on board, she needed to familiarize herself with the series. While she had never seen it, she didn’t have to look hard to find a tutor. “One of my closest friends was very close to Jean Smart [and] said, ‘Oh, Hacks, are you kidding? That’s a brilliant show.’ And so we sat down to watch a number of episodes together and I just fell in love with it.”

On the series, Paul Downs plays the role of Jimmy LuSaque, the manager of headlining Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance, played by Jean Smart. “I play myself — [the] person, not Marlena,” Hall details. “I play the mother of [Jimmy], and he walks in the kitchen one day as I’m always cooking, unlike Marlena. He brings home a friend,” Arbuckle, “and it’s a casual introduction, and I look up and look at him and go [in a seductive voice], ‘Oh, well, hello.’ And he says [also in a seductive tone], ‘Oh, well, hello.’ So we just began playing a whole different level of the scene, which was great fun and adorable. Absolutely. And that’s Christopher Lloyd. He is just so game, he’s so ready. He so participates.” The actors had free reign to infuse the scene with that unscripted flirtatiousness. “Lucia [Aniello] and Paul, who write and created the show, they both said, ‘Oh wow. Hi. Hey. Okay. This is interesting.’ So that’s how it came about, our interplay.”

Hall was impressed by the creativity and productivity she witnessed on the set courtesy of Downs and Aniello, the real-life spouses who are behind-the-scenes forces at Hacks. “[Downs] and Lucia both wear a lot of hats,” she notes. In addition to [Downs] being in scenes, Lucia was sitting in front of the monitor the whole time and she was directing. So they were both very busy putting the project together. And yet it’s so smooth and so easy. They’re open to suggestions, they’re open to new ideas, they’re open to different thoughts on the character or on the scene, and they take it all in complete creative stride. They’re just masterful.”

Did the actress have to do anything to prepare for playing herself? “Let me think. No. No,” she laughs. “Because I was playing from myself as myself, obviously, but that’s also how I play Marlena. So you won’t see a whole lot of variety there — except that as we all know, Marlena cannot cook. And this character is a phenomenal cook. Very cute.”

Unfortunately, she didn’t get to act opposite Jean Smart, nor were they working on the same day, but she had met the Designing Women and 24 alum before, through their mutual friend. “Ironically, my pal Catherine [Butterfield], who sat down and watched several episodes with me, is a very close friend of Jean’s. And Catherine has written a novel [The Serpent and The Rose] and there was a book signing party [and] Jean was there to host the entire event. So I got to meet her in a different sort of way, but she’s lovely.”

Real-life Hall has real-life sons, which begs the question of how they reacted to finding out they have a “new” brother. “I don’t even think they know,” she shares. “They’re busy living their own lives. Of course, they’ll be here on Thursday and we’ll all watch it together.”

It’s a safe bet that her friends in the cast and crew at DAYS will also be tuning in. “I hadn’t said much about it. And then [DAYS’s publicist] put a press clipping up on the bulletin board and I was besieged,” Hall reports. ” ‘Oh my gosh. I love that show. You’re going to be on that show?! I love, love, love that show.’ So I’ve been very impressed and astonished by how many people just adore the show. Not that they shouldn’t, but that it’s on everybody’s radar.”