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Under the Dome
Aug 05 2011, 12:30 PM by Lori Harito
Renee Jones knows Days of our Lives. As a veteran of the show, she's become Salem's dependable and trusting, if not a bit of a meddling, doctor. Jones started off her career on Days as a completely different character in 1993, playing Salem's Police Detective Secretary, Nikki Wade. She was then asked to come back as a third recast of Lexie Carver, and that's where she's been for almost 20 years alongside James Reynolds who plays her husband, Abe.
We caught up with Jones, and she told us what it's like to be on the longtime running soap opera, how her role came about, and why taking a few months off work is a great thing!
You've been on Days of our Lives since the '90s. How did your role as Lexie come about?I got a call from [Producer] Ken Corday's office and they told me that they would like me to come back as the character of Lexie.They told me about the character of Lexie and I said yes! And thank goodness I didn't have to audition because I am the worst auditioner. I hate auditioning. Auditioning is really bad because generally you're not auditioning against the other actor that you'll be playing with. You're auditioning against a casting agent who's looking down at the paper. And you're trying to make something of it and it's really hard because your nerves are crazy. You'd rather just get the role and have the role be offered to you. Was it difficult coming back to Days' as a recast character?I was the third Lexie to come in, so I was replacing the person before me. That wasn't hard because I hadn't seen the show at that point and them in that role to see how they played it. So i brought my own spin to it. But coming into it as Lexie after I had played [Salem PD Secretary] Nikki Wade, was easy because I had worked with James Reynolds, [Abe Carver) before already. He and I already had a nice friendship going. When I came back as Lexie, I went into my dressing room and there was a single rose and a beautiful note from James welcoming me back to the show. It was perfect, really sweet.In fact, he told me that everyday he leaves a little poem for his wife on her pillow. Jim Reynolds does that!What has kept you on the show for so long?I love the fact that Lexie has so many levels to her. I came on as a cop and then they made me a doctor and I love the fact that when I was a cop it was so fascinating because I was a pacifier for a while. Lexie's character has been exciting over the years. Between that and when she found out she was a DiMera and then kidnapping Bo and Hope's baby and ending up in an insane aslyum. That's what's kept me interested; that lexie has so many lives to live. It was so much fun being a bad girl for a while. But do you enjoy being good Lexie still? Or do you have more fun being bad Lexie?So much more fun being the bad Lexie. And I talk to fans on the street and I ask 'do you like me better good or bad?' and they say bad. Because bad is more interesting and fun to watch. Someone being good all the time is predictable.Would you say your character has evolved more into a meddler now?[Laughs] That's interesting. She does seem to be that doesn't she? She seems to be in everybody's business. Yes I have noticed that and I agree.How do you manage to keep your character and job fresh after many years on the show?It's interesting because they wrote Lexie out about three or four years ago. I was off the show for five or six months. That was so good for me because it gave me an opportunity to live my life, Renee's life for a while. So that when they asked me to come back, I could come back with fresh perspective. I think you need a break every now and then. You've been paired with James Reynolds for a while, how do you keep the relationship interesting?You know we haven't been together very much. Even though we're married on the show, you don't really see us having many scenes together at all. It's tough to answer that because we haven't really done much together for a while. The last thing we did was the conflict with Tek and then when Abe saw Lexie talking to Daniel he went off on Daniel because he became so suspicious of any man that Lexi was talking to. And then we had a little bit of dealing with Theo being autistic, and that's it.
Usually on Soap Operas we see characters make up and break up all the time. But Lexie and Abe have been consistent. Why have the writers continued to keep Abe and Lexie together as a couple?They believe the fans want us to stay together. I get conflicting messages from the fans. From the younger generation, when Lexi was fooling around with Tek they were like 'you go girl. Go get yours!' But when I would run into the older generation they would tell me they liked Lexie and Abe together because they want to believe in some marriages staying together forever. Some people want to believe in that which is why I think the show keeps Lexie and Abe together.What was the fans' reaction towards you during the baby switch storyline?Oh boy. I had never experienced anything like that before. Before the baby switch storyline, whenever fans would recognize me they always wanted to hug me, they just loved Lexie. Once the baby switch storyline happened, they would whisper to each other and keep their distance. I even had people confront me and say 'Give Bo and Hope back their baby!' really forcefully. And I found myself defending Lexie's actions to these fans. I would say 'Don't you understand what Lexie is going through and she didn't know it was her baby in the beginning!' I found myself getting insulted and I had to remind myself that it wasn't me they were attacking it was the character. Let it go.In your current storyline you're dealing with your son Theo having autism. What has it been like dealing with a serious issue like this?I think there are times when you would turn on the TV and not know that Theo was autistic. I did a lot of research when this first happened and it's a lot on a parent with an autistic child and going through the child having tantrums. I think all of that was explored on the show in the beginning. The head writer of these stories is the mother of an autistic child, so she would know more than I would on this. There is no norm for a child with autism. I'm not an expert on autism, but at least Days' is exploring the storyline.What has been your favourite and most rewarding storyline?I would have to say the whole art of finding out that I was adopted and Celeste was my mother and then finding out that Stefano was my father. And then finding out that the baby that I thought was mine wasn't and then the kidnapping. That all went on a two year arc with Lexie having a wonderful storyline. And I haven't had a storyline with that long of an arc since, so I would say that's my favourite.How do you feel about all the new additions to the DiMera family?LOVE IT! Love it, love it, love it. I immediately felt like Chad [Casey Deidrick] was my
little brother. He's so loving, it's so easy to care for him. I think
it's fantastic.Has it been difficult with all the comings and goings on Days' recently?Well
that's an actor's life. We get spoiled on soaps because soap actors
tend to stay on a soap for a long time. You have actors who have been on
the show for 20, 30 years. But outside of the soap industry that's the
way it is. But it's always hard to say goodbye to someone and the tears
definitely start flowing. But that's show business!How much fun has it been working with The Phoenix all these years? Is he anything like his character in real life?NO! Joseph [Mascolo] is a BIG teddy bear! He is the biggest teddy bear. I love that man so much.What can we expect from Lexie Carver?I think Lexie is just going to continue meddling in people's lives. And she's a doctor so she treats everyone basically. You'll see a lot of Lexie working in the hospital. I try to bring a sense of humanity to her there. She's not just a doctor but she cares about these people and having relationships with these people.------
By: Lori Harito