John Paschal/JPI Studios

John Paschal/JPI Studios

It’s incontrovertible that “Days of our Lives” James Scott (EJ DiMera) is drop dead gorgeous. He has an impressive 6-foot-something stature, model good looks, a smooth British accent, perfectly polished style and… scrapes all over his hands. (Record scratch.) Yes, when the English native recently sat down with Soap Opera Network for an exclusive interview, he had numerous red scratches marring his otherwise perfect digits. And suddenly, he was all the sexier. Especially when he quipped of the wounds: “Oh, I did a love scene with Alison [Sweeney, Sami] yesterday.”

He’s kidding! He’s kidding! He’s kidding. Except, as EJ and Sami fans know, there could have been slight truth to those words, considering the characters haven’t exactly shied away from raw, animalistic sex onscreen. But alas, it wasn’t carnal copulation that caused Scott’s hands to look as if he’d climbed through barbed wire. “I was just gardening yesterday,” the actor admits. “I was making a rock garden for my succulents, so I was finding the largest chunks of rock I could carry on the hillside, digging them out and then carrying them to the rock garden I was building. But if you saw [the scratches] on camera, you’d probably wonder what EJ had been up to. And wouldn’t it be great, just to wonder?”

Paul Skipper/JPI Studios

Paul Skipper/JPI Studios

With EJ, the mind could wander to any number of nefarious situations. Though Scott admits the possibilities would have been shadier in the character’s earlier days. “He was a very dark character, and I enjoyed that,” he explains. “It’s been somewhat through necessity, but he’s had to moderate his behavior a little bit. Women tend to not be particularly attracted to men who are, well … utter bastards, and then having two kids, obviously, he’s had to [soften a bit], but I liked it when he was young, reckless and didn’t give a f***. All he wanted to do was kill John Black (Drake Hogestyn).”

Scott might not be able to play EJ as dark as he’d prefer (and maybe not even as dark as some viewers would prefer), but he’s at least able to inject his second favorite facet into the character from time to time: devilish charm. “I like the scenes where EJ is sort of a charming villain, because there’s so much fun to be had with those scenes,” he shares. “There’s a lot you can play with and a lot you can do, which is why I enjoy them so much. And I have to say, I have started having some of those scenes, more so of late than recently, which is good, I think.”

The actor isn’t able to reveal specific details concerning upcoming storyline, but he does tease that he’s been working a lot — and we mean a lot. Especially because, in conjunction with filming, he’s also part of the current publicity tour for “Days’” recent book, Days of our Lives Better Living: Cast Secrets for a Healthier, Balanced Life. Scott is featured in the book, for which he was all too happy to give a rave review. “It’s an amazing book. I read it cover to cover, and I can tell you, it’s enthralling.”

As for other options on the actor’s bookcase, it seems to be quite a mix. He just recently read a book called Soul of the White Ant, which is about termite colonies in South Africa. “It’s by Eugene Marias, who died in 1937 and published the book in 1936,” Scott explains. “Essentially, it has to do with the psyche of life on the planet… the understanding of concept of the learned self, and it looks at how within this one world that really exists, within this termite colony, you have a complete bio-system that actually functions in almost the same way as the human body does, in terms of it has a brain system, it has communication systems, it has similar circulatory systems. It looks at the larger universal nature of life and consciousness.”

Deep, yes. But prior to that, he read a slightly less cerebral thriller that literally had him scared to be alone in the dark! “I don’t read fiction very often, but I did recently just read a book called Of Love and Evil: The Birth, which was a wonderful piece of fiction,” he says. “It’s just sort of a supernatural thriller by Huburt de La Bouillerie, and I will say that, not only did I find that I could not put it down, the greatest compliment I can give this book is that when I had to put it down to go the bathroom… I switched on every light along the way, because I didn’t want to walk alone in the dark! But typically I read non-fiction. But I should read more fiction. I really should.”

Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Frank Ockenfels/AMC

In fact, the actor says he should just read more in general — and he’s taken the first step by throwing out his television set. “I do not have television or cable at my house,” he reveals. “I got rid of television because I realized that I’d stopped reading books. It’s so easy to come home, and you’re tired and you’ve had a long day, to just switch on this box and stare at it.”

But he admits that some shows are just too good to completely cut out. “I watched ‘Breaking Bad’ online, which is an amazing television show. So I do watch things online on occasion, but I try not to.”

One thing he certainly tuned into via the web was the online launch of his old stomping grounds, “All My Children.” And he loved it. “The greatest compliment I can give it is that I wanted to watch the next episode. I really did,” he says. “The writing, I thought, was really good, and I thought it was well produced. [Steven] Williford, a wonderful director who we had working here, directed the first episode, and I thought it was courageous, I thought it was bold, I thought it was engaging, I thought it was entertaining.”

Interestingly enough,, those same descriptive words just might be used in conjunction with Scott’s upcoming story on “Days.” Sami and EJ’s love continues to blossom toward another wedding, but in typical soap opera fashion, their road to the altar — or not to the altar — most definitely won’t be a smooth one! “All I can say is, it’s going to be very, very interesting,” Scott teases. “[It’s] going to be fantastic.”

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

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