Friday, February 03, 2012

Interview (Days): James Reynolds, "Abe Is a Man of Integrity"

James Reynolds has portrayed Abe Carver on “Days of Our Lives” since 1981 (taking leave from 1990 to 1991 to portray tycoon Henry Marshall on “Generations”), and in that time, his character has ascended the ranks of the Salem Police Department from police captain to commissioner to Salem’s mayor. Now, honest Abe is in the fight of his political career as he battles the not-so-upstanding EJ DiMera to retain his position of mayor. I spoke with James about his tenure as Salem’s stalwart public servant, as well as the fireworks that this impending election definitely will set off.

Daytime Dial: You’ve been quoted as saying: “Abe was a minority character of tremendous integrity who was not working for somebody else. He was in charge — and that meant a lot to the African-American audience.” Tell me more about Abe’s impact on “Days” and the “Days” audience.

James Reynolds: Well, Abe’s kind of an iconic character in a lot of ways, because he’s been there for so long. He has been the guy in charge for most of the time that he has been in the public eye. He is so strongly woven into the tapestry of what Salem is. You can’t have a picture of Salem or the people of Salem without Lexie and Abe, and that can’t be said for many of the other shows that are on the air, whether they are daytime or nighttime shows.

DD: Abe has always been a man of integrity, but now he is running against EJ for mayor, and we all know EJ will stoop to just about anything to be elected. How can Abe hope to prevail?

JR: He hopes to prevail by actually giving answers, actually presenting solutions to problems. That’s Abe’s plan. The issue is that EJ plans to win through chicanery. The city’s important to Abe. This is the city he grew up in. This is the city he loves. There was a point where Stefano offered Abe the governorship if he would drop out, and Abe refused that. While that’s something he thinks about for the future, the city of Salem is where the people he loves and his family are, and that’s something he wants to leave a stamp on. He wants to see this town succeed and grow and progress. With Abe, he really does want to serve.

DD: I love the strong, protective relationship that Lexie and Abe display for one another. She is standing by him and sticking up for him through all of this, even though EJ is her brother.

JR: Yeah, well, everything in Salem is a little bit incestuous, as we know. It would be difficult to run for office in Salem without someone being related to someone else. There is a conflict there with Lexie, but her husband always comes first. She loves Abe deeply and dearly, and has always been conflicted about her brother and about being a DiMera.

DD: The big debate is coming up — can you give me any teasers as to what viewers can expect?

JR: Very much like the recent debates in the real world, our debate is going to make a huge difference going forward in this campaign. Both of us are going to perform fairly well, but there are going to be some things that happen during this debate that will affect the election deeply.

DD: As you look back on your career with “Days,” what have been some of your favorite story lines for Abe?

JR: I’ve been fortunate; there have been so many. My first one absolutely was the Salem Strangler, where Abe came on the show just a few weeks ahead of Roman. Abe and Roman were designed to come on the show together. So, the Salem Strangler will always be a fond story for me.

Abe finding out that he had fathered a son with Fay was a story that I think really resonates even today. And when Abe and Lexie wanted to have a son together and adopted Isaac, which transformed in a baby-switching story. There have been so many over time, and I’ve learned to appreciate all of them.