fD Interview

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fD Interview: James Reynolds

October 10, 2008
by Isabel Cowles
FindingDulcinea’s weekly feature offers interviews with intriguing people on the cutting edge of business, the arts, technology and journalism. This week, we talk with James Reynolds, longtime star of “Days of Our Lives,” and founder of Free State Productions, Inc. in Kansas and the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena, Calif.

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James Reynolds has nearly three decades of daytime television under his belt. In addition to his role as Abe Carver on “Days of Our Lives,” Reynolds has played a number of different roles in real life, including working as a reporter for the Topeka Daily Capitol, serving as a Marine and founding a production company and local theater. Reynolds also started a learning center called Classes Unlimited, where students are instructed in Spanish, computer programs and other practical skills. 
fD: You have a solid background in journalism. When did you realize you wanted to become an actor instead of a reporter?

JR: When I did my first play in college I knew I had found my true love. Even though I loved writing, acting fulfilled my creative voids in an extraordinary way.

fD: What did you learn when you worked at the Topeka Daily Capitol and had a chance to interview talented actors?

JR: People went out of their way to set me at ease.  I was a very young reporter who, I’m sure, was not the best out there and yet everyone was gracious. Obviously, being near that kind of charisma and success was interesting.
fD: Did your work as a reporter in the Marines inform your subsequent acting career? 

JR: The experiences I had with people, the variety of reporting (from human interest to combat), and emotions I encountered and dealt with have been invaluable.

fD: You’ve done film, television and theater throughout your career: is there one medium that you prefer?

JR: This is a question I get fairly often.  I absolutely have no favorite.  Each medium brings something unique that fulfills you as an actor.
fD: Do you hope through your work at Free State Productions to move the film and television world to American cities other than New York and Los Angeles?

JR: Yes, I would love to bring the point of view of other parts of the country to the moviegoing public.  I love New York and L.A., but the great middle is a lively, fascinating canvas.

fD: What inspired you to create Classes Unlimited?

JR: Actually, my wife conceived of that.  It was a good way for people to taste an interest or business they thought they might want to take part in.  A three-hour class gives them an overview without a larger financial investment.

fD: What advice would you give to young people starting their careers—in acting, journalism or anything else?

Love it. Love it. Love it.  Every career that is worthwhile will have difficult moments.  The only way to deal with those troubling times is to realize that nothing else makes you as happy as the path you have chosen.
fD: Do you feel that the varied experiences in your life have made you a better actor?

JR: Without a doubt my acting has been informed by the experiences of my life.  I have had a life that has been varied and always interesting.  The environment of life is the petri dish that incubates each actor’s process.

fD: How do you think the Internet is changing the film and television world?

JR: The Internet is the next great frontier.  Just as radio and film adjusted to television, we will find the role of the Internet in our increasingly crowded entertainment platforms.

fD: What are your thoughts on a possible actor’s strike?

JR: These issues must be addressed.  Residuals for Internet programming and so many other issues we have yet to deal with substantively.  I have been lucky in my career, but the rank and file actor[s] must be able to pursue their careers and be treated as professionals.
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