INTERVIEW

Meet DAYS's Dan Feuerriegel

Dan Feuerriegel was already on DAYS’s radar when the show decided to recast the role of EJ earlier this year. “I had auditioned for DAYS with Marnie [Saitta, casting director] about six, seven, eight times over the several years that I’ve been in Los Angeles,” he relays. “This time, I was in Australia — I went back home during the pandemic — and I got an email from my agency asking me to put some scenes down on tape. So I sent it off and you forget about it, as you do. And then two or three weeks later, I got another email saying, ‘They really love you. They want to fly you over and put you in a hotel. You need to test with Ali [Sweeney, Sami].’ So I flew over and went through the audition process. A couple of days later, I was told I got the role and the rest is history.”

The actor wasn’t unfamiliar with the soap when he was hired. “I used to watch it when I was at school if I had a day off or something like that,” he recalls. “I do remember a period of time where I really got invested in it. I can’t specifically remember the stories because I was so young.” Nevertheless, he knew who Sweeney was when he arrived at the set. “Yes,” he chuckles. “I met her during the audition process and she was absolutely lovely. She was super-professional. She was there to do a job, and that was to make all the actors who were auditioning for EJ be the best they could possibly be. She did her very best to make us feel comfortable, to make us feel at home. And once we were on set, she would fill me in on little backstories so certain scenes would make sense with a little bit of history because there’s so much history. And she’s absolutely lovely to work with. Made me insanely comfortable and that’s exactly what you want for a, shall we say, partner in crime on set.”

After snagging the role, Feuerriegel had a month before he started filming to get things in order. “The first step for me was getting back in shape, getting out of that year-long pandemic [routine],” he explains. “So that’s what I really focused on. I watched a few YouTube videos of EJ and Sami. I didn’t want to watch too much because I didn’t want to be really, fully influenced by James’s [Scott, ex-EJ] work because this is me now, and I need to put my own spin on it. But I needed to get a sense of the relationship. So I watched a little bit of that and just focused on getting myself into shape and moving every- thing back to L.A. because I was in Australia.”

The newcomer was well aware of how popular his alter ego had become with Scott in the role. “It wasn’t as bad as what I think it could have been because the character hadn’t been on the show for many, many years, and James doesn’t want to act anymore so I was like, ‘All right, I’m not taking on someone’s role who’s been fired or anything like that,’ ” he says. “But knowing how much the fans absolutely loved the relation- ship between EJ and Sami, of course, there is that in the back of your mind. But as a profes- sional, my job is to not worry about that. I think me going at it and approaching the role with respect and doing the very best that I can to bring the best of me to the role is respectful to the character and the fans. If I didn’t care in that way, I think that would be very disrespectful.”

His first day on set brought some jitters, he admits. “Everybody’s been working with each other for a very, very long time and you are the stranger walking in and saying, ‘Hey,’ ” he notes. “And you have to do your very best to slip into that relationship, and I’m kind of a shy person when it comes to situations like that, so I was a little nervous. I’d worked really hard with the scripts that I had to do, so I was prepared in that regard. Everybody was really welcoming, everybody is really nice and supportive. All the actors were really generous; they know exactly what you’re going through. So it’s a really beautiful family. That a big thing that I’ve noticed.”

Meeting his new siblings, Thaao Penghlis (Tony) and Billy Flynn (Chad), went well, he reports. “It was fantastic,” he raves. “Thaao and I got along really, really well because we’re both from Australia and he was just happy to have another Australian. And Billy’s awesome. He has helped me out a lot. They’re both great human beings and it’s good to work with them both. They’re a lot of fun on set, and they’re very professional on set and it makes working on the show so much more enjoyable.”

And with the news of his hire finally breaking months after he first starting taping, Feuerriegel is ready to put his mark on Salem. “That was really cool; I had never appeared on Deadline before because most of my roles have been bits and pieces here and there,” he says. “It was a little ego boost, I’m not going to lie, but it was also a relief because now I can enjoy myself a little bit and talk about it to the point of not giving anything away. I can now start having fun on social media and such, sharing little tidbits and teasers for the fans because I really enjoy that. I really enjoy interacting with the fans and giving them as much of a glimpse behind the scenes as I am possibly allowed. Every episode is something new, but I’m more comfortable to make more choices and just have fun and enjoy myself, and bring a little bit of my personality to the role.”

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