Home > Interviews > One-on-One with…DAYS’ dastardly James Scott

One-on-One with…DAYS’ dastardly James Scott

by Jim on June 3, 2010 · 97 comments

James Scott has played EJ on DAYS since 2006

James Scott has played EJ on DAYS since 2006

James Scott made something of an impression on daytime soap audiences when he appeared as Ethan Cambias on ABC’s All My Children for two years starting in 2004. However, Days Of Our Lives knew a good thing when they saw their opportunity and, within a few months of Scott’s AMC departure, Days snatched the actor for the role of dashing – and often dastardly – EJ DiMera. With four years under his belt on DAYS, there’s no sign of disinterest from Days fans and Scott is as popular as ever. In fact, with my recent interview postings of cast mates Galen Gering and Eric Martsolf, it was James Scott who hands down has been the most requested as the next interview I feature. (Do I listen to my fans or what?)

Before we get to my chat with James, I want to make sure you know there are two upcoming chances for YOU to hang out with the stars of Days. The first will be happening right here in Los Angeles this weekend (June 5th to be exact). The day will feature many of the stars from Days of Our Lives and benefits The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For more details visit www.dayscharityevents.com.

Then on the East Coast next month you get another chance in Greenville, SC on July 23-24th. The Days Into Night Charity Event benefits a local non-profit organization Taylors Youth Association which teaches children sportsmanship, team work and physical fitness through organized sports. Scheduled to appear are Nadia Bjorlin, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Shawn Christian, James Scott and Mark Hapka. For more details visit www.daysintonight.com.

Now…let’s go talk to James Scott!

During my recent visit to the Days set in Burbank, I sat down with Scott after he’d finished a long day of filming but he still managed to be as friendly and charming as possible and, yeah, he looked pretty damn good, too. During our chat, Scott talked about how soaps are perceived in his native UK, working with stars Alison Sweeney and Gering, how gay-related storylines are perceived on UK television as well as what else he would be doing (and where he’d be doing it) if he were not acting.

Jim Halterman: Going back to the time before you came to the US, you studied acting in London. How does the British culture feel about soaps? Do they respect the work?

James Scott: No, I don’t know if they’d understand the genre because it’s very American in the same way if you were to take a British soap like Coronation Street I don’t think Americans would get it. ‘Why is everyone poor and hungry and have bad hair?’ they’d ask. Such different audiences with different wants and needs and their expectations are very different from what they want from television.

Fan favorites Scott with co-star Alison Sweeney

Fan favorites Scott with co-star Alison Sweeney

JH: What are the differences between American and British actors?

JS: British actors tend to over-intellectualize things and American actors tend to over-emotionalize things. Both, in my opinion, are weaknesses.

JH: When you started working in American soaps, was it a big learning curve for you with your British training?

JS: When I started working on All My Children, it was still moving at a relatively slow pace compared to how quickly we shoot now. I had a good amount of studying under my belt but I didn’t have a lot of real experience. When I came to the States I had a good friend of mine who was a successful actress and she said ‘You’re new in town, you’re young, you’re good-looking, everyone will see you once.’ So I got here and as opposed to everyone else who tries to get an agent, manager, go on auditions, but in two years I didn’t look for anybody, I didn’t go on a single audition, I just studied so at the end of two years I was a decent actor.

JH:  How do you get used to the incredible amount of work you squeeze into every day?

JS: There are some opportunities on soap operas to do some really amazing work. The volume of work you do, generally speaking…I shot 22 pages today…next week I shoot at least 50 pages every single day…so what you do is when you thumb through it you think ‘What are the really good, meaty scenes?’ A lot of soaps are exposition so you find the moments in the script that really sing. You really put the work into those and the rest you learn the lines and you do it. You can make it work for you by really picking out the places where there is an opportunity to do good work, extract that from the machine and sit down with that for a day and then you go through the process you’d normally go through for everything.

I'm tall but James Scott is taller, that's for sure!

I'm tall but James Scott is taller, that's for sure!

JH: In your opinion, is there much you can you do to help the chemistry really spark between you and whoever you’re sharing the scene with?

JS: You can do something with it. Soaps are about sex and relationships and romance and a lot of other stuff but you really have to try to find that spark between you and the other person. I’ve been lucky with most of the actresses I’ve worked with and we’ve always been able to find that between us. I do know of actors who have been in relationships on the show where they have just had no attraction to the person they’re working with and didn’t even like them as an individual and that makes things very difficult. I’ve worked with Alison and she’s fun and it’s really a great privilege to work with her.

JH: How does that work when you’re acting in non-romantic scenes but you still want a similar spark?

JS: Galen and I, as we get to do more and more together, I’m getting to learn more about him and I really like him a lot and that’s really important. I’ve been in situations where the male character you’re playing opposite and there is some kind of rivalry, threat or competition. If you don’t have the right person working opposite of you it can bleed off camera quite easily. My character is a dick so when I’m on set and we’re filming I try to be a dick. I will quite happily do something in the middle of a take that I haven’t told them about just to throw them off. That’s a nasty, shitty thing to do but the way I see it is my character would do it and if someone does it to me, I’m totally open to that. I’m very happy to fall on my own rules. Galen is great. Considering there is so much potential for two guys to bang heads on set and you’ve got egos getting caught up in it. I’ve had situations where it’s been very challenging to maintain a friendship or even a decent relationship beside the storyline but Galen is so easy. It’s really so nice to have that knowledge to go to that place, push buttons and know that he’s going to come back and do the same thing to you. As soon as the cameras stop we’re both going to laugh about it and it’s going to be fine and that makes a huge difference. Not all guys are able to do that.

EJ is rarely seen without a tie but Scott makes it work

EJ is rarely seen without a tie but Scott makes it work

JH: I also asked the guys about why gay themes are still taboo in some daytime shows and has yet to really be a part of DAYS. Why is it still that way in 2010? Is it the same in the UK?

JS: In England, we dealt with gays, lesbians, AIDS a long time ago. EastEnders was the first show back in the early 90s and they had a character Mark Fowler on the show and he became HIV-positive. First of all, they made him a heterosexual male as opposed to gay. They weren’t afraid to have a gay relationship on the show because they’d already done that. Secondly, the character is still alive and living on the show today. He’s gone through all the huge story arcs but they’ve chosen to be really responsible in how they’ve dealt with it. I mean, 20 million people watch this show in a country with 69 million people. It’s a great educational resource.

JH: But it seems that American soaps have a hard time incorporating the issue into the shows as naturally as it is a part of our real world. Why do you think that is?

JS: I think soap operas are a very strong medium to address issues but soap operas in America are fantastical so how do you portray serious issues? How do you really give it legs and ground it and how do you maintain drama in the storylines? It’s not that easy. Then you have to start writing responsibly, doing research and these guys don’t have the time and budget to do that. It’s more of an uphill battle in America to tackle these issues. There’s nowhere near the reaction over there that you’d get here. People don’t find it to be an affront to have these images brought to their living room in the way that they do in America. There’s something about this country that tends to be very afraid about what it doesn’t know and understand and reluctant to learn about them. It’s a uniquely American thing.

JH: With the fan response to you, it seems that you’ll be acting for some time but if you weren’t acting what would you be doing?

JS: If I were to not be acting, the first thing I would do is move out of LA and I would move to New Zealand or I might move to Colorado. I have looked at buying a Bed and Breakfast in New Zealand. I looked at that a year ago. Not for me to run but as an investment. If I couldn’t have this career, I’d massively simplify my life. I have a lot of stuff going on and it’s a wonderful thing and I really enjoy it but if I were completely able to take the impulse to do this right off the table I think I would downsize my life quite a bit.

Days Of Our Lives airs weekdays on NBC with re-airings daily on SoapNet. Please check local listings for airtimes in your area.

{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Prashanthy June 3, 2010 at 10:48 am

Amazing interview, loved it!!!!!! James is such a genuine, down to earth, kind hearted and humble human being. As an actor he is sooooo talented and versatile and always brings his A game in each of his scenes. James is definitely the sexiest man alive in my book. The onscreen chemistry between James and Ali is off the charts.

Paula June 3, 2010 at 11:18 am

Thank you, James, for another fabulous interview… You always give us so much to think about… Love your take on the difference between American and British actors and American and British audiences…. Days and its audience are so lucky that we have you and the wonderful character that you have created… :)

Jen June 3, 2010 at 11:23 am

Thank you for the James Scott interview. James Scott is a thoughtful and wonderful actor.

Lois June 3, 2010 at 11:29 am

Thank you so much for doing this interview with James Scott! I simply love James and the character of EJ Dimera.

You asked some great questions. Jim. For instance, it was interesting to read James’ thoughts on the differences between soaps in the UK and America.

Now that you’ve met him in person, you can see for yourself what an intelligent, gracious and fun loving individual he is. I can totally picture him throwing something into a scene to catch his co-stars off guard for a second. I know of one instance where he did that with Alison Sweeney. They have an amazing chemistry whether their characters are friends or foes at any given moment. They’re the main reason I watch DAYS. I also love James’ interactions with Joe Marscolo.

Thanks again!

Hilda June 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I love James so much…thanks for interviewing him! He’s such a thoughtful, sincere, and down-to-earth guy, just gotta love him. Love his chemistry with Alison Sweeney so it’s awesome to get a shout out from him about that. Selfishly, I hope he stays on DOOL for a long time to come, but as a James fan, I hope he gets to explore other venues as well, & eventually that quiet nature-ific lifestyle he seems to love so much :)

Karen June 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Jim….. What a treat to wake up to! I’m pretty much jealous of you right now lol.

What a wonderful interview! I enjoyed reading his take on the difference between American and British soaps. I’ve always felt that British soaps are more written as primetime dramas. I agree most American soap fans want romance, mystery, and fantasy. It’s the escape from reality that most people loved IMO, but it seems that now the GA want more and the writers just aren’t able to offer it.

Love to hear about his chemistry with Alison, because it shines onscreen when their characters are together. I look forward to his wonderful portrayal of EJ, and I’m pulling for his win at the Emmy’s.

Also, I just wanted to end my comment with thanking you Jim. You did a wonderful job! James and Eric are amazing and I enjoyed reading your interview with both guys.

Kelly June 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Another great interview Jim! It is great to know that James and Galen get along so well and don’t take this all so seriously. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about certain fans who get their knickers in a twist over everything. James is not the only actor on Days who speaks highly of his costars, but you wouldn’t know that by reading some of the comments. I may not like the character he plays, but James seems like a class act.

ema June 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm

James is a class act. i praud to be a fan! we ar so lucky to heve him on days!

marilyn June 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Great interview. Always love reading James’s thoughts on issues and his ideas about acting. He is a unique individual. Love watching EJAMI and EJ is the best partner Sami has ever had. I feel blessed to be his fan and to have been a part of a small spectrum of his life.

criss June 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Thank you for listening to what the fans want!! Great interview, it is always wonderful to hear from the man himself!!!!

Allie June 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Thanks for the interview! I ADORE James Scott. He is such a classy guy and it shows in all his interviews!

Emma June 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Great interview with James, enjoyed reading it!

CM6 June 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Thank you for this interview. James Scott is my favorite actor on daytime and this interview proves why. His intelligence makes him the sexiest man out there. He deserves that Emmy!

Gina June 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Thank you for the interview. James Scott is such a down to earth, guy next door, type of guy. He is definitely someone I could see myself hanging out and it doesn’t hurt that he is so incredibily handsome!
I love reading about his perspective on things/issues he is so articulate…way beyond his years.
By far, James and Ali have the best chemistry on daytime TV! Whether you love EJ or hate him…James has this gift of drawing people in and selling it!
Kudos to DOOL for seizing the opportunity to sign on one of the most talented actors to hit daytime TV!!

Angie June 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I love James. He ROCKS as EJ on days!! He’s such a class act. :)

Nicole June 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm

James Scott is a total class act. I throughly enjoyed reading the interview. I always look forward to hearing his views and opinions. I am honored to be a James Scott fan as well as an EJami fan.

Jessie June 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm

James Scott give the best interviews, he seems to be such an humble and intelligent human being. Love EJ DiMera and EJami. Thanks so much for making this interview possible and sharing it with us. :-)

Strawberry June 3, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Thanks so much! Love James and a HUGE EJAMI FAN. More please!

Kiren June 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I love how down to earth he always seems! I agree with Nicole, so glad I’m an EJami and James Scott fan because is just the greatest guy offscreen.

His chemistry with Allison shone ever since the first day at the end of May, and I love it!
Thanks for the interview~!

Ruby June 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Thank you for the interview. James is all class!

Have you seen the new Days of Our Lives promo for June featuring James and Alison? Thats chemistry!

Jim June 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Thanks for all the great comments, Everybody! I have more DAYS interviews and features coming. I just found out I’ll be at the Charity Event in Studio City this Saturday so for those of you who can’t make it I’ll be sure to post pictures next week…maybe before Thursday (which seems to have become the unofficial DAYS day on my site!).

Question—-I know DAYS is #1 for all of you but are there other soaps you’re watching? Now that I’m in LA full-time, I want to visit the other show sets, too, and bring the best interviews. That said, DAYS is number 1 for me, too, but I like to share the love.

Thanks again for the comments. Keep posting them, passing on the link to all the DAYS interviews and let me know what else you want!

You’re all awesome!!!

Linda June 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Thanks for the interview with James. He is the main reason I still watch Days. I love how intelligent and considerate he is when answering questions. He is one in a million.

Diane June 3, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Thank you so much for the interview!

What a wonderful, intelligent, classy, down to earth actor! I feel privileged to have seen his work. I would hope that he’d continue in his professional career, I would love to see him reach his true potential.

A truly gifted human being.

Jessie June 3, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Hi Jim..
Days is definitely #1 for me but I also watch GH and would enjoy seeing interviews of Kelly Monaco (Sam) and Steve Burton (Jason). Thank you.

Karen June 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Jim, I’m also a Y&R fan! I love the sets and acting on that soap. Days is still my favorite because I grew up on it, but AMC and OLTL are the other soaps I watched growing up. I haven’t watched those two in awhile, but I’d be happy hearing from some of the actors.

Sharon Case and Daniel Goddard are two actors I would love to hear from. But honestly Jim; anyone you can get would be great. With the cancellation of GL and ATWT, I’m just happy to hear from the soaps stars in general. We don’t know how long the genre will be around.

Again, thanks for the great interview with James and I hope you get another chance to interview him. I would love to hear how he feels about his current storyline and about his characters motivations.

Panda June 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I like JS w/o Alison, their character has such a nasty back story that it’s unenjoyable for me to watch. I want to see more of Galen & James & this makes me think I will. They are such head butting characters, where EJ is definitely the bad guy he’s also got good too… Rafe is the good guy but sometimes he can be an obnoxious jerk… They are the perfect men to be at odds… better than Stefano & John. Why? because Stefano was pure evil & John good, it’s good to see two characters that can float the other way sometimes. EJAFE now that’a the couple to watch…woohoo!

thegee June 4, 2010 at 1:33 am

I love British humor and the over-intellectualizing, I think most smart women would agree that the over intellectualizing is very sexy. (the accent is nice too- hehe). a perfect example is House MD. I do not think an American could play “Gregory House” as well as Hugh Laurie does, I suspect it is because his background, He really makes this character alluring.

Great interview Jim and James :) — sigh :)

mhady June 4, 2010 at 1:42 am

love it! i hope you get to do another interview wite him! we just love thet man!

if you ar ejami fan so you need to be wite all of us here

http://s9.zetaboards.com/ejami_fans/index/

dana June 4, 2010 at 3:35 am

Oh, so Americans are ignorant and refuse to learn anything. Well, how nice of his British highness.

Jill June 4, 2010 at 6:03 am

What a fabulous interview, entertaining, interesting, thought-provoking, and informative. James Scott is a great actor and an even nicer person. I think he’s being too hard on himself and his character. EJ is a complicated and very sexy man and James is always spot on in his portrayal of this. Thanks for the wonderful interview, I hope we hear a lot more from James as the EJami storyline heats up this summer.

Marlee June 4, 2010 at 8:18 am

What an intelligent man! And I thought he was just a pretty face before now! I didn’t now that much about him, he really shared. Thanks for the interview!

MollyMay June 4, 2010 at 8:21 am

James Scott is a class act!!! Can’t wait to see more of him smoking up the screen with his Samanther!!!!

Thanks for the interview!!

Pinky June 4, 2010 at 8:31 am

Excellent interview. Nice to read some candid responses; James Scott never disappoints. Days has found a gold mine with him, now I hope they hurry up and give us a great EJAMI story so we can all watch the amazing chemistry between EJ and Sami.

James always seems so supportive of his co-workers. Class act!

We get Coronation Street up here. It is waaaaay different than American Soaps that’s for sure.

Kimberly June 4, 2010 at 9:00 am

OMG!!!! JAMES SCOTT!!! LOVE HIM!!!!! LOVE EJ!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE…EJAMI!!! Thank you so much for doing an interview with James! I love James Scott & Alison Sweeney! And their SuperCouple EJAMI!! They are fabulous together! Absolutely incredibly, chemistry just off the smoking charts amazing and extremely talented actors in the Soap industry! What an amazing talent in James. What an amazing acting unit in James & Alison, and what a absolutely amazingly fabulous, famous, and popular GREAT couple that “Days” has with their SuperCouple EJ & Sami!! Fabulous! And Fabulous interview! James is such a class act! And I’m so proud to be a fan of his, Alison, and EJ & Sami!!!!!! EJAMI!!! And that’s great how much he enjoys and loves working with her and how much he loves his fans! [And we SURE DO LOVE HIM!!] Because they are flawlessly perfect together! What a great couple & acting pair! Love their characters, love them as actors, and love them as a couple!

They’re in a league of their own, and ALWAYS creates something so wonderful & magical together! They’re fabulous perfect…and its be a very long time since there’s been actors in the soap genera like James & Ali and what they create together and have created together! And a even longer time since the soap genera has had a perfect SuperCouple, until EJAMI!!! So, that’s great that “Days” has found they’re absoultely perfect SuperCouple in EJ & Sami! And that Sami finally found her man in EJ! Wonderful! Love it! And that’s a gorgeous picture of him & Alison there! Love it!! Love them! I’m sooo extremely excited about the two of them together!

Pauline June 4, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hey Dana truth hurts hein ?! I kid…almost at least..
Most of the time europeans are more subtle, open-minded and educated than americans..i don’t want to debate or generalize so note i will just said “most of the time”. So the difference between their soaps and american soaps shows it.
However i am sure americans have some qualities too…lol

Dino June 4, 2010 at 10:24 am

Thank you for the interview. It’s always interesting to hear what’s on James Scott’s mind. Love watching EJ on Days!!!

Gail June 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Love this interview!! thanks for the great read :)

Tish June 6, 2010 at 6:22 am

Great interview! Thank you for doing this interview. I enjoyed it.

kazzy June 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I flove Arianna and Ej. I used to hate Ej before she came along. She is to cute with him. She is just darling and they look absolutely adorable together. Finally, the right woman for Ej.

RJ4 June 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Thank you for the interview, Jim.
Always interesting to read James’s perspective. He is articulate and insightful. He has created a multi-dimensional, layered, engaging character in EJ. Kudos and well done to James!
Just for the record – some of us would like to see DOOL have a gay storyline and for soaps to address more socially relevant topics in more depth as British soap operas do.

Ruthie June 7, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Thank-you so much for interviewing my favourite actor on Daytime from my favourite soap! I wish you would do one with James and Alison since EJAMI seems to be everyone’s favourite couple.

To answer your question, I don’t watch any other soaps.
But more James Scott! Anytime.

Dorothy June 8, 2010 at 9:52 am

I love james Scott as Ej. He has a great body, good looks, and is a really nice guy. Thanks for doing this interview…I enjoyed reading it, but I like everything that has to do with James. I hope thing work out between Ejami on Days. They are such a dynamic couple.

Mel June 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Thanks! I love James Scott! Great interview!

Mimi June 15, 2010 at 6:55 am

Holy cow, how did I miss this?

What a terrific interview. Love James Scott, and love EJ. EJ is not a dick, he’s misunderstood!

Amanda July 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Yay! Thanks for the interview.

CortezRosalyn December 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm

That is good that we are able to take the loans moreover, it opens up completely new possibilities.

kristine November 1, 2011 at 2:51 am

im totaly in love with EJ, im a norwegian girl…. my biggest dream is to meet him one day. i would do and give almost anything <3

James Scott world hottest man ever <3

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