The following article was written by Scott Huver for People Magazine. To view the original article, click here.

Deidre Hall has taken the Hacks world by storm!

After being name-checked earlier in the third season of the HBO Max comedy as the surprise mother of standup star Deborah Vance’s manager Jimmy LuSaque, the daytime legend showed up in the flesh on the holiday-themed seventh episode “The Deborah Vance Christmas Spectacular,” in a rare role outside of her nearly five-decade-long stint as Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives.

“It was fun — I loved it!” Hall tells PEOPLE exclusively of the opportunity to play a warm, flirty version of herself on the award-winning series.

It was also a role she never saw coming — and learned she had the mother of the series’ co-creator to thank for it.

“It was a surprise,” she admits. “Paul Downs, who is a showrunner [and also plays her on-screen son Jimmy], watched the show as a kid because his mother was a big fan of Days and Marlena. He said, ‘I got put down in front of the TV every day at noon.’ So he became a good fan, and when his mother learned that she was going to be a character on the show, she said, ‘Well, wait — let’s have Deidre Hall play me!’ So it was her idea, I’m told, and I owe her a bouquet of flowers for that.”

In fact, her only minor disappointment was not having the chance to work directly with Smart, 72, herself, which she still hopes for “desperately.”

“I’ve been a fan of Jean’s forever, love her on this show,” says Hall. “One of her oldest friends is one of my best friends, and so my friend Katherine wrote a book and there was sort of a book reading done that Jean hosted, so I got to spend some time with her there. She’s an enormous talent. I mean, I just adore her. I’d love to work with her.”

For Hall, who’s spent the lion’s share of her time on television playing Marlena within the parameters of daytime dramas’ breakneck shooting speed and economic efficiencies, she let herself soak up the perks and relaxed pace of a lavishly budgeted major hit series.

“It was a bit of a flashback for me,” she admits. “I had done scripted television, nighttime television, many, many, many, many, many, many years ago, and I remember there’s a lot of sitting around, there are reverse shots, there are close-ups, there intercuts, there’s inserts — I mean, there’s a whole thing that they have to do in a scene that Days of Our Lives does on the fly.”

“I said at one point ‘My motorhome was the size of my house,’” she chuckles. “They catered an extraordinary lunch that was two full tents of grilled steaks, and then another tent of a salad, desserts, all kinds of [dishes] — it was amazing … As I said to Paul, ‘We would’ve had this whole show shot before we booked for lunch.’”

Hall admits she’s hoping that her spin on “Deidre Hall” becomes part of Hacks’ expansive ensemble of recurring characters, and has found herself musing about tackling other non-Days of Our Lives roles.

“I would certainly do it again if a comedy arose, because I love comedy,” she says.

The season 3 finale of Hacks premieres May 30 on Max. Days of Our Lives is currently in its 59th season and streaming exclusively on Peacock.