EJ DiMera is back after a seven-year absence. Look out Salem!
EJ DiMera (Dan Feuerriegel) returns to Salem today, surprising his wife Sami (Brady DiMera, Alison Sweeney). The character may look a little different — a lot different, but EJ was in a fire, and as Days of our Lives’ head writer Ron Carlivati previews to Soap Opera Digest, “You can cast a look-alike who resembles the original actor, or you can go for someone who embodies the spirit of that character through their acting, and it doesn’t always have to be a physical resemblance.” He went on to say, “All that is to say that you’re not necessarily looking for a doppelgänger; you go with who embodies the character, who has the chemistry with the other actor. We did a test with Alison [Sweeney, Sami] and she responded well to Dan, as did everyone on set.”
James Scott originated the role in 2006, coming on canvas as a race car driver, who moved on to run DiMera Enterprises.
Carlivati admitted that each time Sweeney returned to the show, “the spectre of EJ loomed larger and larger until we finally felt we had to deal with it. Otherwise, it’s hard to continue to tell stories with Sami unless you’re going to answer the question, is EJ still alive?”
They addressed that in 2018 when Sami found him in Dr. Rolf’s (Will Utay) lab in that Nashville warehouse. At the time, Trey Baxter played the part though the scenes didn’t show the actor’s face.
Dan Feuerriegel auditioned and was given the role. It’ll be a jolt for viewers since the actors look nothing alike. About that, Carlivati stated, “I think the audience understands that any time you’re dealing with a recast, it’s a challenge because you can’t just clone that other person,” but he has hope that the actor will be embraced. “I’m hopeful that the audience will welcome him and give him a chance because obviously, he’s something new and different, but that would be the same with anyone playing this role.”
Alison Sweeney chimed in. “To be honest, I was nervous when I heard they were recasting EJ. That’s a big role to fill. I mean, James Scott was definitely a fan favorite, and EJ is such a memorable role in the story and certainly in Sami’s life.”
A teaser of what’s to come: Lucas has just asked Sami for another chance to rekindle what they once had, not just sexually but in a relationship. Sweeney says, “And I think for a minute she’s tempted. Sami feels so secure and safe with Lucas — their history, their connection is solid, as it’s always been.” Before she responds, EJ comes to the door. “Oh, my God, this was such a tough scene for me,” confessed the actress. “Obviously, there is so much pressure from how I can imagine the fans will react to a situation like this. And I wanted it to be great.”
To read the rest of the interview, check out Soap Digest.