How does the saying go? Life imitates art? Art imitates life? This week on Days of our Lives, art is definitely imitating life. As there is a major presidential election ahead of us in the United States this year, there is a major mayoral election taking place in Salem. It is pitting the upstanding and above reproach Abe Carver (James Reynolds) against the not so upstanding and many times nefarious EJ DiMera (James Scott). In the middle, is of course, EJ's sister and Abe's wife, Lexie (Renee Jones). Does Abe have a plan up his sleeve?
You bet he does!
In an effort to assure that EJ does not move ahead in the polls, Abe and Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) take it upon themselves to mess with the questions that are going to be asked at the big debate this week. It is definitely out of character for Abe to stoop to EJ's depths by using these tactics, but Abe believes this is something he must do in order to keep EJ out of office.
As Abe sees it, it's only an ethical challenge in that he's not telling Lexie about it. "Abe does not tell Lexie about switching the questions because he knows it may impede on his integrity," James Reynolds shares with Soapdom. "But he also knows that EJ was going to do exactly that -- get the questions in advance. So he and Jen are changing the tides on EJ. Sometimes, even those with the highest degree of integrity have to get into the ring and mix it up a bit and that's what he's doing."
Why does Abe feel guilty in regard to Lexie?
"He's not told her about the switch up of the questions. He knows how she views his integrity personally and especially in regard to EJ and Stefano. She holds Abe to a higher bar, if it were against anyone else, (not her nefarious family) she would probably go along with it."
As in real life, things continue to trouble the election process as we move toward Election Day. But this week, Abe takes the debate. "It's very interesting because the real election process is happening now, too. And I listen to the (real life) analysts and (by their standards) Abe is a great debater, he has a great grasp of the issues, he handles himself quite well."
So, with Abe pulling out all the stops, and besting EJ this week, could this mean that he will he win the election? We will have to tune in and see!
Meanwhile, Reynolds definitely notices changes in Abe since the Days of our Lives reboot.
"His involvement has been really enhanced. That's a good thing," says Reynolds. "I am happy about that. Abe and Lexie have been such key parts of this community of Salem, and it's good to see story that springs out from them out to other characters as well as other characters spinning story for them."
What Reynolds likes about the reboot is that most of the cast is involved in the story. "They play off of each other. One thing affects the other. You're seeing a few umbrella stories that affect a number of the characters," he explained. "We are in the middle of the Mayor Election story and that affects so many of us. We are acting as a community and the stories are projected as a community. That's one of the things that the reboot has brought back to us -- traditional soap opera story telling. You see it not only on Days of our Lives, but nighttime soaps, like Boardwalk Empire. You see the umbrella storyline that affects all the characters, and then you see the individual character's story. That's what we have now on Days."
We then talked a little about the future of soaps, especially in the daytime arena. I mentioned the loss of the training ground for new, young actors, with the loss of each daytime soap opera.
"Any time you lose job it's not a good thing." Reynolds said. "The rise of reality tv, becomes one less avenue for actors to work."
But Reynolds did not agree with me regarding soaps being an actor's training ground. "I take exception of daytime tv as training ground. Many of our talent are accomplished and more accomplished than any that are breathing."
But I was referring to the newbies, the young actors that come into the industry and the way that soaps have proven to be a great place for them to get their feet wet, learn the ropes and hone their skills. Reynolds had to agree with me there.
"Whenever you bring in young actors, they are always acquiring skills, as are all actors. As a community – working on the assumption that it will be limited, but I am an advocate of daytime soap opera, and hope it will remain – the artistic community (actors, directors, writers), put up a tremendous body of work, more than any of the other genres over time. And the cancellations will affect the industry at large in a variety of ways."
So, yes, he agreed that soap operas were not only a training ground for young actors, but they serve as an outlet for talent in a number different positions, not only in front he the camera, but behind it as well.
"It's a genre of entertainment that we can only replace with itself," Reynolds believes. "American television is the only culture that is lessening the number of hours that they give to daytime drama. In every other culture in the world, soap operas are enhanced. There are more hours, they are more popular. I have been fortunate to travel a great deal, and wherever you travel, Middle East, Asia, Europe, soap operas are the foremost type of entertainment."
Reynolds and I both agreed that daytime drama is legacy entertainment. "There are only two types of legacy entertainment that exists in the United States. Sports and daytime drama. They are the only type of drama that people pass on from one generation to the next. That's a special quality that I think we need to retain."
Meanwhile, Reynolds keeps himself busy off screen with his theatre in Pasadena, CA. The beautiful Freemont Centre Theatre is truly a passion. Reynolds shared that there is an opera running at The Freemont now.
"The next play that I am going to direct is about holding on and letting go. End of life issues. Hospice. That play that will be opening in the middle of April. That's our next full production," Reynolds shared.
"We start casting in a few weeks. We did readings of the play over the last year and a half. So once we get a yes or no back from those folks, who are quite a distinguished cast, we'll announce who is starring."
And fans, if you're on Twitter, look for Reynolds tweeting! "Twitter is fun. It's more fun than I thought it was going to be. I correspond more frequently then in letters. Everyone has been so nice and gracious. People who watch our show are wonderful, special people. They make us a part of their family, and we feel the same about them."
Follow 2012 NAACP Image Awards nominee James Reynolds on Twitter @JReynoldsJames
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