James Reynolds Talks Days of Our Lives, the Black Lives Matter Movement, Returning To Production, and Much More! Check it out here ---->>>
Soap Opera News had the honor of chatting with the wonderfully talented James Reynolds! Join us below as he discusses his long-running tenure on Days of Our Lives, the Black Lives Matter movement, what to expect once the soap returns to production, and much more!
After portraying Abe Carver for nearly four decades, we wondered if Reynolds’ ever thought his character would be around today...and be so beloved by fans. “No,” he laughed. “That’s the easy answer. No, I didn’t. I’d never done a soap opera before Days of Our Lives cast me as Abe and when I got the job I thought I had a year. I signed a three-year contract originally but I thought a year. You know how soaps are. I thought they’d find a way to kill me off a year from now. Now, I’m on the cusp of my 39th year.”
We asked Mr. Reynolds if he ever thought about leaving the daytime world for other projects and he had this to say. “That’s interesting. My wife and I were just talking about that this morning. I always had a good amount of confidence that I would succeed wherever I was as far as this chosen profession of mine. And there were temptations along the way. I have been offered a nighttime show and films,” he recalled. “I had a young son growing up and I loved what I did. I loved knowing where I was going to work every day. I really enjoyed the people with who I was working with and the challenge of the work. That was a big part of it. The quality of the work from everyone on the production staff was excellent. So, that’s what kept me around. And I have to say that most of the things I’ve said ‘no’ to have never got off the ground. At this point in my life, I am content with all the decisions.”
Speaking of Abe’s family! That’s something that Reynolds’ wishes we could see more of. Like the return of his brother Jonah or maybe even another brother “that looks remarkably like him?” Thankfully, the NBC soap has really taken the opportunity to invest in the character's family with the union of Abe’s daughter Lani and Eli Grant. “I think it’s just wonderful. The Carvers, in my view, have always been the other central family on the show. You have the Hortons, the Bradys, and the Carvers. So, to see the Carver family grow is just wonderful. I love both of them, the character of Theo and the babies. I’m just very happy about the growth of the Carver family.”
It’s safe to say that the fans are happy about it as well! With the world changing every day as we try to better ourselves and become more inclusive, it’s amazing to see a Black family at the forefront of a daytime drama. “I am encouraged by the Black Lives Matter movement and hope that it brings long-overdue changes to the world,” he expressed. “In our industry, changes have been necessary and I think our show...I think you’ve seen the response. Our show tries to look different with more people of color, Black, Hispanic, and Asian people on the show. I think it’s such an important moment in time. Not just because of the pandemic but also the fact that people are raising their consciousness. They understand the level of wanting to learn and I can’t help but feel consciously optimistic.”
James spoke on the fan’s reaction to learning that Eli and Lani were the first African-American couple to be married on-screen on Days of Our Lives and gave us a little explanation about why the characters of Abe and Lexie were not married on-screen. In what he called a “very interesting time” on the show, he was offered the role of Henry Marshall on NBC’s soap Generations. “It had been decided that Abe would leave Salem and it was made very clear to me that he wasn’t going to be killed off and would probably not be replaced. So, Abe and Lexie moved to Chicago together, got married, and I joked all the time that Abe and Lexie got married at a truck stop by an Elvis impersonator on their way to Chicago,” he joked.
He would return to Days about a year and a half later with a different actress playing Lexie, Renée Jones. “Which I was happy about because she had played another character on the show and I was very impressed with her.” he shared. While the years have come and gone since the character of Lexie has left the canvas, he still looks back fondly on the pairing. “I’m very appreciative of the Abe and Lexie pairing and how that couple became one of the supercouples of the show back when they had supercouples. We had some great stories, great times, and great experiences. I am eternally grateful for that.”
Recently, James and fans alike have enjoyed his scenes with Lauren Koslow’s Kate Roberts. “I don’t know what I could tease about it because it’s just beginning. It’s the early stages of this storyline and the working relationship that they have. I’d love to see where it goes. It’s not something that should be rushed.”
A major part of his excitement about the story is just working with people he hasn’t in a long time. “ I enjoy this cast. I’m very much a fan of their talent and I think people are seeing on the air right now a little of Abe and Kate. I’m very happy about that. We’ve had scenes before in the past and it’s something that I’ve wanted to get back to. Like the old days with Roman, John Black, Marlena, and Abe. That would be nice to be able to work with those folks a good deal more.”
Hopefully, his wish will come true as the show returns to production on September 1st! Reynolds confirmed that the return date still stands as of now and he is excited to get back to it. “I’m looking forward to returning to work but with a little trepidation like everybody does. We’re not going to see people. We’re literally going to walk in, go to our room, and we’ll be running lines virtually. Which was a big question of mine of how we get prepared for our day? We don’t want to get out there and waste time. We want to know what we’re doing.” He also revealed that the first two weeks of new episodes will include very few people as they work to transition from where they were at the time of the shutdown to where they will be in the new episodes.
Everything is going to look different in Salem including many of the faces we see thanks to the slew of recent exit announcements. “I am going to miss everybody. Those are all wonderful people with tremendous talent. Some of them like Kristian Alfonso, I’ve worked with since her first day on set, which is almost 40 years ago. There have been so many people who have left our show for one reason or another and every one of them I’m going to miss. You know, I’ll be curious to see where the show goes from here because each one brought something important and unique to the show. So, it will take a little while,” he shared. “We’ve been through these moments before when people left and the show has survived and moved on. And I saw on Twitter - even though nobody has told me officially - that A Martinez is coming back and I’m very happy about that. So, there are people coming on to the show that I think the audience would be happy to see.”
While he is anxiously anticipating returning to the Days set, he has kept busy with a new project. “It’s a digital series called Promiseland that was written for me. I didn’t know about it until I got a call last year from the creator. We’ve rehearsed throughout the summer which I’m very grateful for during the middle of quarantine. It’s nice to have projects to do...and I’m the bad guy! I’m looking forward to it. We’ll probably shoot it in the Spring. Oh, and I will not be leaving Days [of Our Lives] to do that.”
Thank you, James, for a wonderful chat! We cannot wait to see what comes next for you and Abe.