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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:

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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!

Leave a comment | 8 Comments
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8 Comments

  1. justin

    November 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    james is hot

  2. Sue

    December 3, 2009 at 7:43 am

    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.

  3. Polly

    December 5, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    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?

  4. Michael Jenkins

    December 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm

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

  5. RJS

    February 14, 2010 at 12:13 am

    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.

  6. christie

    September 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    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!!!!

  7. NANCY

    October 18, 2010 at 10:32 am

    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

  8. marji

    October 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    “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.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Executive Producer Anthony Morina Talks On Daytime Emmy Drama Series Win For Neil’s Memorial & Honoring Kristoff St. John

Last Friday night, The Young and the Restless was named the Outstanding Drama Series at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on CBS. The show won on the strength of their submissions, which centered on the death of Neil Winters; including when the residents of Genoa City find out of his passing, and the subsequent heartbreaking memorial service in his honor.

However, what made those hours of television unlike anything seldom seen; were not only was Genoa City saying goodbye to Neil, but the cast was saying their goodbyes to their beloved friend and colleague, Kristoff St. John (Neil) who had passed away suddenly back in February of 2019.

Y&R’s executive producer, Anthony (Tony) Morina accepted the award for the top-rated CBS Daytime drama during the Emmy telecast, which now makes Morina a five-time Daytime Emmy winner himself!

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Tony on the series emotional Emmy win, and what it meant for him to win the gold for these incredibly moving and special episodes that were at its epicenter paying tribute to Kristoff in the best way the soap opera could. Here’s what Tony shared on the Y&R Drama Series victory and more.

Photo: JPI

Congratulations on your Outstanding Drama Series win. The episodes that you submitted were at every level, so gut-wrenching, sincere, and beautiful.  What did you think about the process that you went through to make these right for Kristoff and the character of Neil?

TONY:  Occasionally, when you are in this business, as you know, you work so hard to achieve certain things, sometimes you think you’re achieving something, and you’re not, and sometimes something shows up that surprises the heck out of you, and this was kind of it for me.  But what didn’t surprise me, of course, were the actors’ ability, the director’s ability, and the crews’ ability, and for these episodes it was at such a high level.  Sometimes there is an emotional element, or an otherworldliness thing that takes over.

Photo: CBS

Yes, because it was all so real and raw; in that we were watching the characters who loved Neil Winters mourn him, but we were also watching all the actors who loved their co-star.

TONY: When everybody was in that church set and were giving their eulogies, it felt like everybody was so behind each other, and everybody just cared for each other so much because they cared so much for Kristoff.  All the eulogies that people were doing were a page and a half to two pages.  They were really long, but you could feel the emotional tension, and you could feel how people just felt.  Kristoff was a very unique special person, who ended up going through some rough times, but he really was beloved.  Sometimes you love people, and sometimes you say somebody is beloved.  Whenever you saw him, he put a smile on your face.  He made you feel like he really cared about you.  Those shows came together really out of this feeling of love.  We did two whole shows that day.  We did that whole show and the show that came after it.  I don’t know how many hours of a day it was, but people had so much emotion attached to it that those shows really kind of took over themselves with everybody just trusting and letting go and supporting each other.  I got a text from Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) saying how it was one of the greatest experiences he’d ever had in terms of how it all came together.  Those shows just meant a lot to us, and I really felt that if we didn’t win, I’d be perfectly fine with that, because I was just so glad that we were able to do these episodes, and people got to see it.

Photo: JPI

At what point did you decide, “We are going with this to submit for the Emmy!”

TONY:  I actually knew that day.  I think, I actually said to Josh Griffith (head writer and Co-EP Y&R), “This is going to be our Emmy show … or one of our Emmy shows.”  The other show when everybody finds out Neil died was an incredibly powerful show to me too, but I knew that day when we shot the funeral that you rarely see that kind of rawness.  When you get into this business, and you want to become an actor, it’s tough, but you know that in the end what you want is to get into a position where you can share who you are as a person in an artistic way.  I think the Neil memorial gave people a way to say, “This is why I do this because I get to really share myself, and I get to express how passionate I am and how much I care about other people.”

Photo: JPI

Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm) came back to honor his dear friend and on-screen Y&R brother.  How was it having him on set with you to share this experience?

TONY:  Shemar was amazing.  He was there until the bitter end of our tape day.  He could not have been kinder and more supportive of everybody, and really laid out his emotions, and it was like that with everybody.  I would say this was the the most amazing experience I have ever had.

What do you think Kristoff would say?  I think he would be very proud that you gave Neil a real proper sendoff.

TONY:  Absolutely.  I also think Kristoff, would have thought that Neil deserved it, and would have loved it, a, it’s an interesting question because you have got to say to yourself, “Does Kristoff feel he deserves it?” As a character, he’d definitely feel he deserved it.  He was a part of that community.  He was a part of Genoa City.  Those were his friends and his family.  Would Kristoff feel he deserves that?  I don’t know if he would have felt he deserved it, but I know he would have loved knowing how much people cared for him.  I think that would have meant the world to him.  I really do.

Photo: CBS

I loved your acceptance speech.  I thought it was one of the better ones of Emmy night. 

TONY:  Thanks so much.  Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) has been amazing.   He gave me a lot of guidance on where to go, and my wife, Sally (Sussman Morina) really helped write the speech because the rules were you’ve got 30 seconds.  I really believe in the notion that when you have an opportunity to speak in front of people about something, it has some meaning to you and to other people.  I think you have to put thought into it because how many opportunities do you get in life to share about yourself and how you feel about people?  So, I really appreciate you saying that.

Photo: CBS

What did you think of your Y&R actors: Bryton James’ (Devon) and Jason Thompson’s (Billy) major Emmy victories?

TONY:  Well, personally, I am enormous fans of both people.  I like when nice, good people have nice things happen to them, and you know them.  First off, I was so happy for Bryton because I know he and Kristoff were close, and I know he was deeply affected, as Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R) was, as everybody was, but they were like family.  I love Bryton personally, and he laid his heart out there.  As for Jason Thompson, people think the world of him, and I think he is an unbelievable actor.  I taught for years, and I have worked with a lot of actors, and I think Jason has such control of his work.  I’m impressed by him.  I’m just as impressed by who Jason is.  I think he’s deserved it other times too, and this was his first win; which must be very special for him.

Photo: deCazotteFacebookPage

During the In-Memoriam tribute on the Emmy broadcast, former producer, Lisa de Cazotte was also featured.  What can you say about your time working with her at Y&R and over your career?

TONY: I’ve known Lisa De Cazotte since Santa Barbara when Paul Rauch (former executive producer) brought her there, and that’s where we first met. Lisa was probably my favorite producer to ever be in the booth with because she let you be yourself, and she let you do your job, and yet, she still had control over the room and the studio.  She was a great touchstone for me, because when you are in this position, you need someone to bounce stuff off of or just say, “Am I really being an idiot here?” because we were old friends, she could say, “Tony, you’re being an idiot.”  (Laughs)  We miss her terribly.  She was really a loved person, and she was just fantastic at what she did.  I just miss her as a friend.

Photo: JPI

And of course, the In-Memoriam featured the late Y&R co-creator, Lee Philip Bell who also passed recently. 

TONY:  Yes, and that’s what was interesting about that speech I gave, because you had to mention those three people: Lee, of course, Kristoff, and Lisa – three truly linchpin important people in daytime drama for many years. Losing all three made it a particularly rough year for The Young and the Restless family.

I also wanted to talk about Eve LaRue (Ex-Celeste Rosales), who had never won a Daytime Emmy but she did for her work on Y&R! She was very emotional and moved by her win as Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series.  What can you say about Eva?

TONY:  She is such a lovely person and she did a great job for us.  I’m just glad for her because I know she had ever won before.

Photo: JPI

One of the clips shown on the Emmy broadcast that Y&R chose for air from Neil’s memorial was Victor’s emotional eulogy; which Eric Braeden delivered so beautifully.   I know how found he was of Kristoff; so it made that on-screen moment all the more heartbreaking. What can you say about Eric?

TONY:  Eric feels as deeply as anybody who I have ever known.  Really, he can come across sometimes as a certain kind of image for people on-screen, but he cares deeply, and is the most supportive actor of every other actor.  Eric has a depth and is a fantastic actor, and he knows how to use his talent.  He actually called me last night and left a message.  He just said, “Hey, I saw you on TV,” and then he just laughed for 5 minutes.  It was really very funny.  He’s not used to seeing me on TV, and so he just laughed.  It was hilarious.

What did you think of Y&R’s win for Outstanding Drama Series knowing they submitted the episodes of Genoa City finding out Neil had passed, and his funeral? Share your thoughts on Tony’s remarks via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Daytime Emmy Winners: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Scott Clifton & Heather Tom Talk Winning the Gold & Returning to Work at B&B

This week, The Bold and the Beautiful has been airing encore presentation of Daytime Emmy-winning performances from some of the cast over the years as a prelude to tomorrow night’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS.

The weeklong Emmy celebration concludes tomorrow with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood’s (Steffy) Emmy-winning performance from last year which won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series prize for the first-time in her daytime career.

Michael Fairman chatted with Jacqui, along with five-time Daytime Emmy-winner and a nominee for Lead Actress again this year, Heather Tom (Katie) and three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Scott Clifton (Liam).  As daytime soap fans know, Heather and Scott hold the distinction of being the only actors to win in all three acting categories: Younger, Supporting and Lead.

In this candid and fun conversation on the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Jacqui, Scott and Heather remember the nights the won Emmy gold, their acceptance speeches, things they wish they would have said, and what it was like waiting for their names to be called, plus taking a stroll down memory lane and remembering when they taped their Emmy-winning performances.

Scott reveals why he chose not to submit himself in Lead Actor this year, even though he has some of the finest performances throughout the Baby Beth baby switch storyline,.

Later the trio talk about The Bold and the Beautiful being the first U.S. soap opera and first U.S. broadcast show back in production following the shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic and how B&B is looking to shoot episodes during the times we live.

Watch the full video interview below.

Then let us know, what was your favorite part of the moments shared by Jacqui, Scott, and Heather in the Emmy conversation?  Do you think Heather might tie Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki, OLTL) tomorrow night with her sixth win in the Lead Actress category?  What do you think of B&B’s return to production following the sentiments shared.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Thaao Penghlis Chats on His Daytime Emmy Nomination & How He Makes Tony DiMera One of a Kind

He has been one of the longstanding cast members of Days of our Lives and certainly of Salem’s notorious DiMera Clan; and while Thaao Penghlis may be off our screens for a time and then comes back again; though the years one thing has been true, he delivers top-notch performances in a way that is uniquely ‘Thaao’.

This year at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards to be broadcast on Friday night, June 26th at 8 p. m. EST, Thaao is vying for the Outstanding Lead Actor prize amongst a formidable group of other daytime favorites.  And this makes it two years in a row that Penghlis has received an Emmy nomination although this time in a different category.

As fans know, Penghlis takes the art of acting seriously, and expects other he works with to bring their A-game, just as he does time and time again; whether it be playing DAYS dashing Tony or the evil Andre or when he portrayed Victor Cassadine on General Hospital.

Michael Fairman TV spoke to Thaao to get his thoughts on: receiving the Emmy recognition and what it means to him what he thought about his nominated scenes, plus what he might be doing at home during the ceremony, and where he hopes Tony DiMera’s future is headed.   Here’s what Thaao shared.

Photo: JPI

Tell me about what scenes you submitted that landed you a Lead Actor Emmy nod!

THAAO:  Well, the week I came back to DAYS, I had 11 shows, and this material was from one show of three I did one day!  When you think of other actors doing 150 shows, and I did less than 50 this past year, my choice is kind of limited.  So, when I came across these particular scenes, which were with Eric Martsolf (Brady) and with Arianne Zucker (Nicole), what I liked about it is that usually when you see other peoples’ work, its histrionic, it’s great tears, it’s drama – and what I was able to put together had a through line and an arc from beginning to end.  It makes it very logical when somebody is following your story, and you can show a whole ebb that makes sense.  I had some lines that were really difficult to say, like, “Coming back from the dead is not easy.”  When I get lines like that, I throw it away, and because of that, it becomes humorous.  I have to say I work well with Arianne.  She was great.  I found in the past, when I have worked with some actors, they step on your lines.  I found the best way to stop that is I put my hand up, and I say, “Hey!” and everything goes silent.  They go into shock mode, and I say, “I haven’t finished,” and then I go on.  (Laughs)  So, when Kristen as Nicole starts to talk to Tony the way she does, and she says, “You’d better behave…” I thought, “This is a DiMera you are talking to,” so, I just snapped back at her.  I gave her a, “Hey!”  So, she shut up, froze, and I went on.

Photo: JPI

Would you say your reel was more comedic … or both funny and serious?

THAAO:  It is both.  There are subtleties to it.  There is a teacher I know in Australia, and she is very critical.  She said, “I want to see your work.”  I showed it to her, and she wrote back, “Oh my, God.  How did you make those transitions so readily?”  I went, “Oh.  How did I do it?”  I didn’t think of that.  I think it’s an old technique.  It’s called having to do 3 shows in one day, and you had better get your stuff right, and it’s about how do you make a scene work?  There is one director who I did a miniseries with who said to me, “Where did you get your training from?”  I said, “Daytime.”  He said, “My God.  You certainly know how to have a camera follow you,”   Well, the camera has to follow your movement.  So, when I finished a transition, I’d move to another spot, and the camera had to follow me.  So, what happened in the arc of this Emmy-nominated piece is that I took charge and controlled the scene so that it became a scene of lots of transitions. And of course, charm, I did all of what I thought Tony would be.  He is a DiMera.  I have one of those looks. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe it’s as I get older, but I’ve learned how to work the camera where I may slam something first to get your attention, and then the camera comes onto your face, and you’re going, “Oh, what the hell is he thinking?”  So, I can play the dark side quite readily, and yet in my real life, I’m not so bad. (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

You have Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Steve Burton (Jason, GH) also in your category, and these guys who are obviously been soap veterans like yourself.  What do you think about the group you have been nominated with? 

THAAO:  I never worked with Steve Burton, but hear good things.  I know Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan, GH).  He’s a lovely actor.  I have worked with Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R).  He’s a lovely actor.  He is well-trained.  So, it is nice to see that the nominees are all vets.

Right, they are all vets.  It seems like a good group to be with. 

THAAO:  I agree, and I love that the Daytime Emmys are coming back to television.  I think it is an upswing when they think of daytime dying.  I think whoever made this happen is taking on the responsibility of taking daytime back.  It is why people love novellas.  People love the story, they love to follow the characters, and we’ve got fantastic fans.  I mean, what would we do without them?  You can’t sustain the show without them, and you pay a price, you have to know how to entertain them because once they know who you are and what you’re about, they get bored.  So, you have to be ahead of your audience all of the time.  That’s what I have always tried to do with both characters that I’ve played on DAYS

Photo: JPI

They’re doing a virtual ceremony this year.  How do you think you would dress while watching the ceremony?

THAAO:  You don’t wear a tux in your house, do you? So, I’ve invited some people for a celebratory time.  Lauren Koslow (Kate, DAYS) and her husband Nick Schillace (head of make-up, DAYS) and Leann Hunley (Anna, DAYS) are some of my great friends who have been very supportive of me through some tough times this year, and I’ve got a friend who has got  a wonderful restaurant, and he is going to cater it.  Probably it will be a group of 10.  You know, could you imagine being here on your own, in a tuxedo, with a glass of champagne? (Laughs)

I know, kind of awkward! (Laughs)  You’ll put something nice on for the big night, right?

THAAO:  Yes, you know me.  I’m always dressed.  What would you suggest?  Sweatpants on the bottom and a tuxedo jacket!  How about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Now, you have been previously nominated for Daytime Emmys, too!

THAAO:  Yes, and last year I was nominated as well for Outstanding Guest Performer.  So, it’s kind of nice to be back-to-back, and in 2008, I was nominated for Lead Actor when I played the clown in the Tony and Andre storyline.  Thank God, DAYS recently DAYS had James Reynolds (Abe) wining in the Lead Actor category.  I thought, “Wow.”  That was for years and years of good work that he’s done, and also, Greg Vaughan (Eric) wining for Supporting Actor was very nice, but we haven’t had that many wins in the acting categories over the years.

Photo: JPI

DAYS tapes so far ahead of air; that what was once a seemingly major concern has paid off swimmingly during the coronavirus pandemic.  The soap is the only show to have enough episodes in the bank for months ahead when production shut down and enough even when other shows go back into production.  Who would have thought?

THAAO:  We used to think it was ridiculous that DAYS taped eight months ahead, but look at us now! Who would have thought is right?

What would you love to see happen with Tony when DAYS does resume filming new episodes again? 

THAAO:  I’d like to go back and play the head of the DiMera family.  I’ve never been granted that, and I think, at this stage, with the way I worked with Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano) it would be nice to see the transition just like Michael Corleone did in Godfather.

So will you be rooting for Thaao to take home the gold as Lead Actor in a Drama Series come Emmy night?  Do you hope DAYS writes Tony into upcoming story, and if so, how would you like to see him on the canvas? Comment below.

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