November 5th, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The James Scott Interview – Days of our Lives

Oh Baby!

James Scott

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

This is it! The long awaited reveal of baby Sydney is finally going to come out next week on Days of our Lives. James Scott, who has played EJ Dimera’s plight through this complex baby switch, talks to On-Air On-Soaps about the intricacies of the monumental plot twists from baby Grace to baby Sydney, and all things and destination and angles in between.

The set-up as many know: Nicole miscarried EJ’s baby. She then switched teenager Mia’s baby with Sami’s, because Sami’s baby would still have EJ’s DNA… so she could pass off that baby as EJ’s and hers. Then, the baby Sami believed to be hers (who she believed was EJ’s) suddenly died. Thus, making the only living baby, Sami’s original baby, who Nicole has been keeping for herself… Confused???

In this interview, James Scott, the dashing Brit previews the next beats in the story. He talks about EJ’s backbone, and if “EJami” will get a second chance, and he tells you why (if you don’t already know) that in November, DAYS is must see daytime TV!

You can see James at A DAY of DAYS fan event today in Los Angeles and he is our soap guest this week on The Scott and Melissa Reeves Show airing on syndicated radio airing through next Thursday.

Listen to the audio:

Play

MICHAEL:

As EJ, you have so much material and are on the show so much of the time. As an actor, does it ever get daunting?

JAMES:

It’s always daunting. I have spent most weeks thinking how am I going to get through this week? And by the time I get to Friday, I can’t believe it’s coming to an end. But at the same time the story had been really good, and as long as you are not in that trap on soaps where things can be repetitive and get drawn out much longer than they should be drawn out …that is when things get tough. It happens here sometimes when you think, “Didn’t I just have this scene with the same person a few months ago on a slightly different set?“ That gets a bit difficult to remember and all the time I am asking what happened yesterday? Where am I going? Most of the time we are shooting completely out of sequence.

MICHAEL:

James, was it hard for you to keep straight all the twists and turns of the baby switch storyline?

James Scott with babyJAMES:

It has been confusing, but I think I have been doing a pretty good job. I think this has been a really good storyline, and there was a time when it ran into a risk
of being the trap I spoke of, of going on a bit too long, and they kept teasing the end of the story far too much, and to my mind it became a bit tedious. Aside from that, it has been a really strong story and it has had a lot of different twists and turns that I liked. I was chatting with our executive producer yesterday and he was going to give me some information on what is going to happen to EJ into next year and it was lovely. My jaw just dropped and I went, “What? Wow!”

MICHAEL:

So, you liked it?

JAMES:

I really like the things they are doing and some of the stuff coming is stuff I had been pushing for, for a long time…. but I am not going to say what it is!

MICHAEL:

Will you as EJ be more snarky and more evil?

JAMES:

I will be a lot less of a pushover. It was hard to play the scenes where Nicole would be crying and Brady would be with her and I would go, “What is going on here?” She would rub her fake belly and she would say, “I am just having some fake pregnancy things.” EJ would be like, “Oh, well OK”, time and time and time again, and that era I want over. I think I said to Soap Opera Digest that EJ was the ‘village idiot ‘and I don’t want that to be the fair representation of the character and EJ continually being misled in this way. I can understand certain aspects of the story and that he had faith in Nicole and that commitment, and when you have strong faith it’s hard for people to undermine it. But ultimately you would have to ask some questions when they don’t add up. EJ does ask some questions, but he was easily satisfied by the answers. I don’t think he should have taken them on face value, as he did. So, I am happy to see he is doing a lot less of that.

MICHAEL:

So coming up EJ will have more business and relationship drama?

JAMES:

Both, of course. It’s set up for that. Now I have a baby with Sami, and there is that relationship with Samantha that they have been teasing for years.

EJ and SamiMICHAEL:

Would you love to see
EJ and Sami (or affectionately known as “EJami”) get back together? Or, is it time for a new woman for EJ?

JAMES:

It depends on what they do with Sami, because EJ and Sami worked well when they were both bad. Recently Sami has been more of a ‘goody girl’. It’s harder to pair the ‘goody girl’ with the bad guy, but they have these kids that connect them and these huge connections between the two of them. You have to have more of that for a relationship to work. So either I have to be not so bad or she has to be not so good, or we meet in the middle. There are lot of people who are very supportive of Sami and EJ. I have now been working in soaps for six years, and it seems to me that when the fans really want something, and the networks and the producers know about it, they want to give it to you as much as you want to get it. But they want you to have to wait.

MICHAEL:

Right! The powers-that-be and the network brass want fans to tune in to see if the couple they are rooting for will get back together.

JAMES:

So I would think that Sami and EJ would be a potential relationship. I don’t think I am giving anything away about that because it seems like an obvious extension to where we are.

MICHAEL:

How has it been having two other leading men put into the mix for you? I am taking about Galen Gering (Rafe) and Eric Martsolf (Brady).

JAMES:

Galen and Eric are great additions to the show, and Lindsay Harley (Arianna) as well. My relationship with those two guys is important, because on the show it’s very adversarial. It helps me a lot because I don’t like to have anyone at work I don’t get on with. It’s important as soon as you stop tape you get along with people. Both of these guys are good actors, and every now and again my character is a nasty guy to them. So sometimes when actors come on the show that are less experienced, EJ gets to go to town, or James gets to go to town and show what a nasty character I play. But it works to support this kind of character. Eric Martsolf, in particular, makes me work harder. The first thing I did with Eric was I tried to do something and walk around him in a way that he was stuck in the middle. I sort of walk around them, which makes me look like the powerful one. Eric is experienced. He stepped off his mark and came right up to me, which is good, I think.

MICHAEL:

In this entire baby switch arc, you had some very big moments as an actor and as EJ. One that comes to mind was your monologue in the morgue with dead baby Grace.

Nicole and babyJAMES:

The big days I felt for me were the days I lost Grace and I thought she was my daughter and when I went into the morgue. The unraveling of the material with Nicole was not as immediate, he had to piece things together and come to the realization. With Grace it was two scenes of me standing in front of Sami and one scene of me getting it. So you went from knowing nothing to everything within a short amount of time. With the Sydney story it was slightly different and more protracted.

MICHAEL:

But next week Stefano puts out a hit on Rafe, and things start to make sense to many people about what baby Sydney’s true parentage really is!

JAMES:

Stefano puts a hit on Rafe and it does not make sense to EJ. He does not like Rafe, but did not understand the orders for a hit. So he think there is clearly something going on here that he doesn’t know. So it seems to EJ that Rafe must know something about his family that his father does not want to be out as information. And that information is the DNA test that shows that Sydney is biologically Samantha’s and mine. So this is the beginning of my finding out about the real baby and what is going on.

MICHAEL:

Now that the truth comes out, can we expect big emotional stakes and moments between you and Alison Sweeney (Sami)?

JAMES:

The fact is that they don’t like each other right now very much. They are going to have to deal with this situation and put their heads together and work out how they are going to resolve a problem that is not going to go away for a long time.

James and AriMICHAEL:

How has it been working with Arianne Zuker (Nicole) this entire storyline? She has carried so much of the load of this to make it work. And Arianne is due to have her first child in December! She will be a real-life mom!

JAMES:

She is pregnant in real life and she is not at all crazy or emotional…not more than usual. (Laughs) She is really lovely and it is a privilege working with her. She is an exceptional actress. Arianne is no different pregnant or not pregnant. For a long time she has had scenes with a child being taken from her… the miscarriage… and now she had another child taken from her. Now she can relate to Nicole in a way, because now she is having a baby in a real life. So it makes those performances all the more wonderful.

MICHAEL:

Now there is a new drug storyline involving EJ. Tell us the set-up.

JAMES:

I bought the drug operation Victor had. Victor sold it because he did not want Brady’s hands on it. So I am now a drug kingpin, which is fine, and I don’t mind that really. It’s a noble way to earn a living. I have a job in Salem, which most people don’t (Laughs). They don’t have jobs in Salem. They go from having no money at all to giving Nicole $50,000. It’s strange!

MICHAEL:

But being that EJ hates Brady, and Brady is a recovering drug addict, that could only mean….Oh, I hate to think! Bad stuff for Brady?

EJ workingJAMES:

I spoke with our executive producer and I said, “I really, really feel EJ needs to have one or two scenes where he hits Brady in the face till he is bloody and unconscious. I think it
would make EJ feel much better.” Brady was up to
his neck in the cover up about the baby and the
fact that EJ does not rip him apart with his bare hands is beyond me. Let’s talk reality for a second! If someone kept your child’s existence from you what would you do? Guaranty you would just kill them, you really would.

MICHAEL:

So what would you tell soap fans about November sweeps on DAYS? It looks to be kicking into high gear here!

JAMES:

Knowing what I know of this show between now and March of 2010, every week is must see DAYS TV. I have never seen such impressive story outlines, ever! We have an incredible cast now, and Crystal Chappell (Carly) is with us, too. She is lovely and a very nice addition to the cast, and now we really have a lovely cast here. We don’t have any kind of friction on this set at all.

MICHAEL:

I am glad to hear you say that, because there was a time last year that morale on the set was at its all-time lowest, with cancellation rumors and major cast cuts. Has it changed here?

James ScottJAMES:

A year ago the morale was different and it has to do with executives having to hammer a deal with the network to stay on the air. From what we heard, it had to do with the negotiations and consequently we got a year’s contract (not really very long) and we ended up in a hole where our budgets got cut drastically. Our ratings had averaged about a 1.9 and now it is a 2.2. These things are important. NBC does not measure ratings by how many people watch the show. They measure the ratings in how many people watch the commercials, and that is what keeps us on the air.

MICHAEL:

When fans meet you, what do they ask you the most?

JAMES:

Every time: “When are you going to get together with Sami?” Or up until recently, “When are you going to find out about the baby?”

MICHAEL:

Nothing about how incredibly tall you are?

JAMES:

Often when I meet them I am sitting down. So they don’t get the full majesty of my height, because I am pretty tall.

MICHAEL:

So if we were to preview what’s coming up for EJ on DAYS, what would you say?

JAMES:

I can tell you that the stuff I am shooting now with EJ is the best stuff I have ever filmed! There is so much I can’t tell you. It’s the best time to watch the show since I came to the show three and half years ago. The stuff you are going to find out now and the stuff you are going to find out in a bit, and in a long time, and the way they are pulling everything together, is very interesting!

James Scott with babyMICHAEL:

Will there be emotional scenes when Sami gets her baby back?

JAMES:

I can tell you this: There is going to be a huge… huge… twist that you don’t see coming that is going to turn that story on its head.

MICHAEL:

When you found out that twist, were you surprised?

JAMES:

I was surprised, but I thought it was brilliant! Brilliant!

  1. justin says:

    james is hot

    Reply

  2. Sue says:

    The trouble with huge twists that you don’t see coming is not we KNOW there is a huge twist coming! But it is really not possible to be completely spoiler free if you are on the internet, soap sites, show boards, twitter and are a fan of Days. The people who will be surprised will be folks watching that don’t use the internet to keep up with the actors.

    I see James has voiced some of the same frustrations I have seen on the boards about the storyline. I have noticed in various interviews with different actors on this soap or others this seems to be the case. I think it’s interesting that the actors feel the same way that the fans feel at times.

    I have seen James on his entire run on AMC and Days and this show is a way better fit for him.

    Reply

  3. Polly says:

    I see great things for James on and beyond Days. He’s got a beautiful voice and a great screen presence. I’d like to see him in feature films. Wonder if he’s classically trained?

    Reply

  4. Michael Jenkins says:

    James is my favorite actor on the show, great interview.

    Reply

  5. RJS says:

    James presence on the show is really dynamic. He draws you in almost as a Shakespearen tragic figure with both dark, devious, mad sides, but then vulnerable, tender, longing to be loved and to love moments. I really have not watched the show much in years, but I happened to see it the other day, and once I started to watch him I was smitten. He has quite an acting depth and range, and of course, his adonis good looks make him very pleasing to watch :) . The writers should be very careful how they handle his character’s storylines – being very careful to keep balancing his evil side with his kinder, likeable qualities and not drag out the storylines too long. Also, since he has this commanding way when he is on, let him carry the story instead of the story carry him. As ratings are key, and so many people seem to like watching James/EJ, becareful not to let the story line destroy this character, but embellish and enhance him.

    Reply

  6. christie says:

    yummy! I have never been into the soaps…..but my god…..this man….James Scott is so good….but really how TALL is he…..I can see him go far as an actor if he plays his cards right!!!!

    Reply

  7. NANCY says:

    a female stranger named grace ej dimera’s new love intrest but grace has a secret it has something to do with sami and ej played by nancy walberg

    Reply

  8. marji says:

    “nothing about how incredibly tall you are?” sounds so rude {& jealous}! most of the males in my family are 6’1″ to 6’5″, & some of us females are 6′ tall, so GROW UP, michael!
    & learn some manners, while you’re @ it.

    Reply

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