How’s it going so far? “It’s going really well. I’ve really warmed to the style of the show. I’ve really warmed to the character. I feel like I am the character whenever I step onto the set, which is very relieving and a lot of fun. I feel like I’m starting to have more fun with EJ than I did in the beginning, which is why I love doing this job.”
You had some pretty intense breakup scenes with Alison Sweeney’s Sami. What do you remember about those? “I remember them quite well. It was a big week. I think I had nine episodes to shoot because Ali had to finish up that week. So I was kind of naturally exhausted during that week anyway and it just helped with the emotional state of the scenes. It was just wonderful working with Ali; we kind of let each other do whatever would come out and we would just fly with it. That was probably the point where I started to feel a lot more comfortable being a part of the show. You get past that initial feeling of, ‘Am I doing well? Are the producers liking me? What about the network?’ and all of those kinds of insecurities, but after doing those scenes, I thought, ‘Done it! Excellent.’ It was really a watershed moment for me and it was a pleasure working with Ali.”
You also had a big Xander/EJ fight scene. You’ve gotten to check a lot of boxes of soap events since you’ve joined. “They’re certainly putting me through the wringer! But I guess that’s what happens when you pump out that many episodes. You’ve gotta keep creating drama and fun and comedy and stuff like that. It is an exciting part of the show. Almost every week, you’re chatting with somebody different or you’ll go back to an old storyline or you’ll be in a new situation. It’s really cool. I get to flex my acting chops, as they say, and I’m looking forward to more and more of it.”
EJ also got control of the mansion back. How was that to play? “Take that, Gabi! He came back after many, many years away to, in a way, a completely different Salem, so he’s scrambling and doing whatever he can to try to wrest control back, which I think is another very interesting, multifaceted element of what EJ is going through.”
Why is EJ so opposed to Johnny’s career as a filmmaker? “Because it’s a terrible idea! It’s kind of interesting because EJ went through kind of the same thing that Johnny is going through. EJ was a race car driver, and was acting exactly the way Johnny did when Stefano wanted EJ to work for the company. But EJ was seduced by the company, by the importance of family and DiMera, and now EJ is trying to imbue the same philosophy in his son. Johnny’s place is supposed to be by EJ’s side at DiMera Enterprises. That’s the family.”
How has it been working with Carson Boatman (Johnny)? “Carson is a lot of fun. It was weird for me initially to have a son because I don’t have a kid in real life, but he’s a great guy. He’s a brilliant actor and we get along like a house on fire. He helps me, I help him. Outside of Salem, when we’re just Dan and Carson, we just kick it like a bunch of guys. We go on hikes and hang out and maybe have a drink or something. He’s a lovely person.