Days of our Lives viewers absolutely love Paul Telfer in the role of bad guy Xander Kiriakis, but it turns out that the casting department from the NBC soap opera originally signed him to the series as a completely different character: leading man E.J. DiMera!
In a new interview with Soaps.com, Telfer reveals that back when fan favorite actor James Scott was playing the role of Stefano's son, he was hired to briefly play the character.
"My agent called and said, 'I know you don't want to do a soap opera, but Days of our Lives is offering a large sum of money to be on standby in case this actor can't make it,'" Telfer recalls. "He was sick. It was for the role of E.J. But fortunately, James Scott was well enough and I got paid, even though they didn't use me. Best job I ever had!"
Not long after, DAYS came calling again -- this time with the role of Damon, which eventually led to the role of Xander.
"They kept calling me back about joining the show, and I played this henchman character named Damon and I loved it," Telfer shares. "A month later, they said they were interested in bringing me on as a contract, and I assumed it'd be Damon again. I didn't want to play some boring romantic dude -- I wanted an antagonistic character -- so I thought, 'Perfect.' Then they gave me a contract for a totally different character, they cut my hair, and that's it!"
As for what he loves about playing Xander, Telfer says playing villainous roles gives him the perfect opportunity to break the rules.
"It's a cliché to say they're meatier and better roles, but I enjoy [playing the bad guy] because of the strictures of daytime television -- there are things you aren't allowed to show, but villains push up against standards and practices of whatever the rules are," he says. "Xander has access to his rage, and he's a very good liar. Those things make it fun to play. Beyond that, I just love shouting at everybody!"
For more from Telfer about his experience at DAYS, check out Soaps.com's full interview here.
Can you picture Paul Telfer as E.J. DiMera? What are your favorite things about his portrayal of Xander? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.