Thursday, January 19, 2012

INTERVIEW: James Reynolds Talks DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Issues Of Race On TV & His Image Award Nod

James Reynolds has been a vital part of DAYS OF OUR LIVES for over 30 years, and his character, Abe Carver, continues to surprise us. WE LOVE SOAPS TV just got off the phone with James, after calling to congratulate him on his nomination for an NAACP Image award earlier today! We spoke briefly about issues of race on TV and in America, as well as the politics of Salem's mayoral campaign and the country's race for president. Of course, we also got his reaction and insights concerning Abe's post-election plans as well as Celeste's return. You can read a transcript of the Q & A below.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Congratulations on your nomination for the NAACP Image Award! What were your first thoughts when you heard?
James Reynolds: My first thought, and my thought currently is, what an extraordinary honor it is, and how pleased I am. But also, that It should also have the name "Renee Jones." I know very well that I wouldn't have received the nomination were it not for Renee.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How has Daytime TV changed in the years you have been a part of DAYS?
James Reynolds: Daytime is now different, because the remaining shows have frequently moved away from some of the characters with long histories, and given emphasis to other characters. On DAYS, Abe and Lexi have remained a part of the tapestry of Salem, which is an important way to treat all the characters.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: When it comes to issues of color, are things better (or worse) today when compared to the early 80s?
James Reynolds: TV by and large, I find, still has a long way to go.

There is no show I can think of with a minority cast on the major networks, and very few even when it comes to cable. It sometimes looks like any minority casting is an afterthought, and not an essential part of how the show was conceived.

Up until recently, there were whole areas that were overlooked, like game shows, but CBS (for instance) and other networks have done an excellent job. Also, NBC with some of their shows. But those were overlooked for a long time.

Reality shows still are very stereotypical in their casting of minority characters. Particularly African American characters. There's always the one or two, and they always want the "angry black person", whoever that is.

Then there are shows like THE BACHELOR, who have yet to cast anyone of color! [Laughs.] Well, that's not completely true, but they very rarely have anyone of color in the show, and apparently it's not something they seem to be very concerned about. So those things all have to be addressed.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What are your thoughts on where to start?
James Reynolds: I think it is a question of just looking at opportunities more than anything. I think it requires forethought, and people have to put it out there. This country--most of what we do should represent what the country looks like, and too often it doesn't.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Very interesting, thank you. Now, if I can, I'd like to go ahead and talk a little about the DAYS canvas. What can you tell our audience about Celeste's return?
James Reynolds: I can tell you that it's a story that's going to be very, very important to the show for the next month, if not longer. Several months, I should say, if not longer. Her return is going to bring more than a couple surprises to Salem.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Now I'm even more curious!
James Reynolds: Yes!

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Another big topic in Salem is the election. Are there any politicians in the real world that your opponent reminds you of?
James Reynolds: Oh wow. Wow! [He laughs.] Yes, there are!

I don't know how political I should be, but one person comes to mind... someone who might be running for the Republican nomination, that I'm reminded of. [He laughs.] But, I probably shouldn't state his name.

I'm always cognizant that we have wonderful fans that are Republicans, and Democrats, and Independents and Libertarians and all the way down the line. We all have our own personal thoughts, and some of us may become politically active. I certainly have been active politically--we all should be active politically! We're American citizens and we should enjoy exercising that right. In the role of representing the show, though, I'm always aware that that's not necessarily what I should be doing.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: In a way, you must feel very close to your character after all these years. If you could somehow control Abe's destiny, what would you like to see for him? What would you like to see happen in the coming years for the character of Abe?
James Reynolds: Wow. Well, some of that actually is going to--my answer would depend--well not depend on; but depending on the story...

What comes out in story is going to dictate some of those desires. What you will see come out in story in the next few months is going to dictate some of those desires, but certainly I can tell you that I would love... [He laughs.]

The election is on Valentine's Day, by the way. I would like to see Abe continue in political office. I would like to see him continue as a key person in moving the future of Salem. I certainly would like to see that.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We'll be interviewing more DAYS OF OUR LIVES stars soon. Do you have any questions for them? Tell us what sort of things you would like to know more about in our Comments section, below, and next time, we just might ask on your behalf!

Kevin Mulcahy Jr. is a Harvard alum who is currently working as a staff contributor at writing theater and web series reviews as well as other in-depth features. Read all his Web Series reviews here. To contact Kevin, email [email protected].

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