Also fueling the fire was the unavoidable reality of playing the same character every single day, an unfortunate pitfall of any long-running series. “Playing the same character day in and day out becomes difficult. And the storyline, I often found, would go in circles: Boy meets girl, boy has bad history, falls in love with girl, has some big secret, tries to hide it from her, hopes she doesn’t find out, builds up relationship, secret comes out through father, father finds out, holds it over son’s head, he desperately tries to hold everything together, ultimately loses girl. I played that storyline four times. And [that’s not] criticism against the show: It is a consequence of the genre,” he states. “I have a friend of mine who is on one of the most successful primetime series and has been, for the last 10 years, playing a lead role. They were into their fourth season, and he’s like, ‘Ugh, I’ve got to try and find a way to reinvent my character again.’ He’s playing one of the most sought after roles in town, and yet, four years in, he’s having [thoughts like that]. It’s challenging to play the same character all the time. So I think just creatively, whether I work again on a soap opera or I work in any capacity in the entertainment industry, if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, ultimately, you are wasting your time, and you’re ultimately going to end up in a situation where your [creativity] dissipates. This is how I feel about it, and I could just tell that I needed to change things up.”
Ironically, both Scott and Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady) came to the decision to leave the show around the same period of time. Though Scott maintains that his decision was not connected to hers. “I did not tell Alison of my intention to leave until after I’d made the decision,” he says, agreeing that it is rather interesting that they both announced their intended departures so close together. “Maybe not on a level we were both aware of, I think that we were both going through the process of separation and winding down over the last year or two. I certainly felt it.”
Speaking of Sweeney, the actor names a storyline he played out with her as one of his all-time favorite moments of being a part of “DAYS.” “The whole baby switch storyline back in 2009 and 2010, which lasted for almost two years. Nicole and Sami, their babies were switched, and I thought it was a great storyline,” he recalls. “It was exciting, it was interesting, it was constantly changing, it was unpredictable, and it was working with my favorite people. I got to work with Arianne [Zucker, Nicole], with Alison, with Galen [Gering, Rafe] and with Eric Martsolf [Brady] every day, and how much more fun could that be?
“And also Leann Hunley came in [as Anna Fredericks DiMera], and I got to work with her when I kidnapped Sydney, and EJ was just awful, just awful,” he continues. “And I loved it when he was that bad. The writing was really good at that time… They did an incredible job of it. That was, without question, my favorite storyline to play. We had fun, and EJ was able to be who I think he is at his best, which is he can be both loving and sincere and generous and kind and also at the same time he can be an evil, twisted, malicious, rather nasty person.”
EJ’s final story also turned out to be a satisfying moment for Scott, who states that the writers did a good job with his exit from the canvas. “I’ve always regarded the relationship with Samantha as ultimately not really being a love story in the true sense. It’s always, I think, been rather tragic,” he explains. “If you go back to the classics, it has much more an air of tragedy than it does a great love. And so what I wanted for the ending, on the one hand, I wanted EJ to go out in a blaze of glory, and on the other hand, I wanted him to come to this place with Samantha, and ultimately, I think they did both.”
The ending — which showed Kristen (Eileen Davidson) injecting EJ’s presumably dead body with a mystery substance — left the door open for a possible return. But coming back to “DAYS” doesn’t seem to be in the cards for Scott, at least for the foreseeable future. “I’m not saying I’d never go back, but certainly now is not the time,” he states. “I worked with some very talented actors and had a lot of fun there, and there are certainly people that you miss seeing every day… so I would never say never. However, I do feel if I were going to do another soap opera, or if I were going to go back into soap operas, it’s more likely that I would prefer to start somewhere with a completely new character. Now, that doesn’t mean that ‘DAYS’ couldn’t pitch me a great story that would entice me to come back at all. But one of the reasons that I left was because I feel like and have felt like I need to spread my wings a little more, and I’d like to try something new.
“I can tell you that I consider it be a great privilege to work on that show for as long as I did,” he continues. “I’m very grateful for all of the experiences and the people I was able to work with. And I can think of no finer group of people to work with than Ken Corday and the cast and the crew. Absolutely without question, [daytime] is a really wonderful environment to work in. I mean, 10 years all together with ‘All My Children’ is a run that very few people are lucky enough to get, and I didn’t think I’d stay on the show that long when I came, and the writers were just very, very kind to me and trusted me with a lot of material, for which I’m very grateful.”