Interviews Soaps

Day of DAYS Interview: James Reynolds and Vanessa A. Williams

DAYS OF OUR LIVES -- "A Day of Days" -- Pictured: (l-r) James Reynolds, Vanessa Williams -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

The stars of NBC’S Days of our Lives returned to Universal CityWalk for its annual ‘Day of Days‘ fan event Saturday, November 11, 2017. We spoke with longtime star James Reynolds (Abe) and Vanessa A. Williams (Valerie) during the press event about their reaction to the show’s unarmed police shooting involving Abe’s son Theo.

Days of our Lives has been on fire since the summer, mostly thanks to the writing of new head writer Ron Carlivati and team Sheri Anderson Thomas and Ryan Quan, so fans were super excited for this year’s event.

Like every year, the complimentary event was set for 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and offered fans the chance to meet and greet their favorite DAYS cast members including Lucas Adams (Tripp), Kristian Alfonso (Hope), Lamon Archey (Eli), Camila Banus (Gabi), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), Bryan Dattilo (Lucas), Kassie DePavia (Eve), Judi Evans (Adrienne/Bonnie), Mary Beth Evans (Kayla), Billy Flynn (Chad), Galen Gering (Rafe), Deidre Hall (Marlena), Bill Hayes (Doug), Susan Hayes (Julie), Drake Hogestyn (John), Olivia Keegan (Claire), Lauren Koslow (Kate), Eric Martsolf (Brady), Chandler Massey (Will), Marci Miller (Abigail), Casey Moss (JJ), Stephen Nichols (Steve), Thaao Penghlis (Andre), James Reynolds (Abe), Suzanne Rogers (Maggie), Meredith Scott Lynn (Anne), Christopher Sean (Paul), Freddie Smith (Sonny), Sal Stowers (Lani), and Vanessa Williams (Valerie) for autograph signings and Q&A sessions.

TV Source Magazine was on-hand talking to all the stars in the hopes of bringing you some scoop. Most of these interviews are not spoiler heavy, as actors are limited in what they can reveal about upcoming plots. But it’s nice to hear their insight about current and previous stories, as well as other tidbits.

We hope you’ll enjoy our interview with James Reynolds and Vanessa A. Williams.

You are involved in one of the most socially relevant storylines daytime has told in a while, what was your reaction upon reading the script?
Vanessa A. Williams:
Bravo!
James Reynolds:
Absolutely, I’ve been keenly aware of the need for a story like this for a long, long time and I’ve advocated for stories like this for a long, long time. I think the response by the show itself, the producers and writers are admirable in and of itself. I always feel like the way they have written it, and the nuances that they have used, will make this a story that people are able to understand. We were talking a little earlier about changing minds, I don’t think it’s a question of anybody’s mind being changed or anybody’s mind being opened, it’s a question of people just thinking. Just seeing something in a different way.
Vanessa:
It’s really well written and I think it’s also why it’s important the soap operas reflect the diversity of our world, I think that’s important and wise. To have these characters of Salem reflect the lives of the viewership, it really affords the kind of truths and realities that our audiences are dealing with and to see it played in the show that they love so much it really continues to personalize the show for them and they take it personal and they are so connected, generation after generation watching it together it’s so potent and powerful.
James:
And to see us live it, means they are seeing their neighbors live it. I think that’s the big difference on how we can communicate these stories to the audiences out there. We see their family, we are their neighbors, we aren’t someone in another state or another city.

Did you feel a personal responsibility in telling this story as actors of color?
James: Without question, like I said these are things that over the years I’ve advocated for. You got to be responsible with the truth, no matter what it is.

Days of our Lives just celebrated its 52nd anniversary. You have been on the show for many years and have had many great storylines, but is there a highlight for you?
James:
To be honest I can’t answer, there are so many highlights I can’t answer. I don’t have favorites of anything, I don’t have a favorite color, favorite meal, everything is good. You want to taste life completely and I just feel so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity for a long, long time now to do this, to go to work at this place and be responsible for these stories and this character and to have so many people are outside have grown up one way or another. I’ve had people who say “I went to college because of you, we stayed together because of you,” there’s so much.
Vanessa:
It’s a gift to do what we do for a living, to be able to effect so many people so passionately. Every day we get to walk in there, whether we have big scenes to do or small scenes around the Christmas tree it’s just a marvelous thing. Every day is a highlight.

Days of our Lives airs weekdays on NBC. Episodes are available online at NBC.com.

About the author

Walker Ragsdale

Walker Ragsdale is a freelance writer and publicist specializing in enertainment and branding.