After nine months of working at DAYS, Dan Feuerriegel finally shows off his best face – and his best physique – as EJ DiMera. His hair is longer, his body is leaner, and he wears facial scarves. âMy appearance during my initial hearing was quite similar to what I have now,â Feuerriegel reveals. “I think they wanted to take me back to the way James [Scott, ex-EJ] looked – cropped, short hair on the back. This is what they [wanted] at first. So they did that, but it didn’t feel natural to me.
Over time, Feuerriegel’s on-screen appearance “slowly evolved” to become more loose and relaxed, a transformation he welcomed. âPersonally, I feel like I’m at my best like that,â he relays. âI was a little embarrassed on my own at first because I had a bit of Covid weight on me. I was in no condition to be a “hot guy on a soap”. And without the benefit of a little thatch, “I couldn’t cover the baby fat on my face,” Feuerriegel concedes with a laugh. “This is what I look like naturally, so it looks more like me. Then we just put on a nice costume and the whole thing. [EJ] the thing is finished.
Add a little sarcasm and a dose of nastiness to the mix, and the actor started to feel quite comfortable in his character’s creator threads. “I like his dark tendencies and playing the antagonist,” he enthuses. âIt was also a natural development, as EJ was coming back to Salem after a long time away, and he was trying to be a better person. Then slowly his real personality emerged, when he fucked Chad and himself. got rid of Jake and Gabiâ¦ all those little things from EJ DiMera Her true colors came out and it’s fun.
For Feuerriegel, the daytime drama route in the United States began in his native Australia. After attending drama school at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, he “moved to Sydney and booked commercials, TV movies,” says Feuerriegel. âI was on MCLEOD’S DAUGHTERS, which was a big show in Australia for a while. I did HOME AND AWAY, which is kind of a teen soap, for a little while.
However, it was his run as a tall buff gladiator named Agron in the Starz SPARTACUS series that earned him international notoriety. âThere were seasons when I was huge,â recalls the actor, who shot three seasons of the show in New Zealand over a four-year span. âAfter that I flew to America, had an agent and a manager, and played the game in LA. I did AGENTS OF SHIELD, NCIS: LA, CHICAGO FIRE. I also made the film Cryptic in London and Pacific uprising in Australia, and now I’m on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. So it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of all these different kinds of [projects]. It is the beauty of acting. You can play so many different and cool roles.
And “little bits” of a few of them made their way into Feuerriegel’s portrayal of EJ. “I took what I did in an episode of NCIS: LA, where I played this British drug dealer who was very cold and calculated, and put a little of that in EJ,” notes he does. “I also took a bit of Agron – his aggressiveness and quick temper, and put that in him too.”
However, Feuerriegel points out that the real âdiscoveryâ of the DiMera scion only took place after several months of work. âOne day you say ‘Ahhhh. It’s him, âhe shares. âThis is when the real exploration begins. This is when you can say to yourself, âMaybe I’ll try thisâ or âI’ll try that. I can look back now and see the evolution.
Just as Feuerriegel got used to EJ, fans of the show got used to him as well. âThere were a lot of comments like, ‘I didn’t really like him at the start’ or ‘I wasn’t really willing to give him a chance at the start’,” he says of the forage on social networks. âBut then they changed their mind. This is probably where a large percentage of people were, because people don’t like change. They’re getting used to what’s happened before, and James did a phenomenal job as long as he was on the show. I had big shoes to fill, so that’s understandable. I am not James. I’ll never be James. I’m just doing my version of EJ. I think people have warmed up because, well, they don’t have a choice, âhe adds with a chuckle. “I’m doing the part, you know? “
Along the way, Feuerriegel was grateful for the support and friendship of his castmates. Topping the list are Alison Sweeney, who plays his ex-wife, Sami, and Arianne Zucker, who entered EJ’s romantic orbit as Nicole. âAli is such a lovely person,â says Feuerriegel. âBetween takes, we’ll sit down and chat. I have become so comfortable with it. There is no more trying to understand each other. We know exactly what to do and how we are going to play [our scenes]. Ari is amazing too. We get along so well. We both have a really silly sense of humor. So it’s always fun.
Feuerriegel also connected easily with his âbrothersâ DiMera – Billy Flynn (Chad) and Thaao Penghlis (Tony). âThaao and I are both Australians, so we’re chatting about our home, which is cool,â he shares. âBilly is a good human, a good person. I had the opportunity to hang out with him when we went to Canada for this convention. It was really good spending time with the boys and bonding.
Living in Los Angeles, Feuerriegel is thousands of miles from his real family: his parents, Kim and Greg; two younger brothers, Justin and Nathan; and her younger sister Kristen. “They are all back in Australia,” he notes, having last visited the clan during the outbreak of Covid. “Everything was closed in LA, so I was like, ‘Well, I can sit here on my own and do nothing, and maybe the occasional hearing will pass, or I can go home, be with my family and be in the sun â, because it was summer there. So I decided to do this. I was there for about two or three months when I got a call from DAYS to edit an audition tape.
Here in the United States, âI have my family in LA,â Feuerriegel says. “My friends and the people I work with.” However, there is no one else in the actor’s life at the moment. “I’m not married. I’m single right now and enjoying life,” he shares. He also has no children. “Not that I know of,” he replies with a to smile.
Feuerriegel is quite satisfied with all aspects of his life at the moment. “I really have fun every DAY,” he says. âEveryone is super nice and the fans have been really kind and generous. I’m glad they’re warming up with me, and I’ll continue to entertain them.
JUST THE FACTS:
Birthday: 29 october
Just: Sydney, Australia
Name set: His last name is pronounced âFYUR-a-gillâ. âI don’t think I’ve met anyone in my life who’s pronounced it correctly the first time around,â he says. “At least the way I pronounce it. It is a German surname, or a Prussian one, shall we say.
Herbal: Feuerriegel is vegan. “About four years ago I had some health issues, and that’s what worked best for me,” he explains, noting that he had spent his entire life eating meat. . âMy grandfather and my uncle were butchers. I grew up with the best meat in Australia. I remember going [to the butcher shop]. I worked on it a bit. It was good meat.
What to watch: âThere is this program that I watch a lot on YouTube called BREAKING POINTS, that I like a lot. I get a lot of my news from them.
The cat’s corner: Cats are Feuerriegel’s Achilles heel. âI had two cats that grew up, one after the other. And the people I had lived with for several years here in LA also had two cats. So I filled it up. “
The sport game: âI’m a bit of a sports fan. I get sports updates from my local newspaper in Australia and Fox Sports and stuff like that here. My favorite sport is Rugby League in Australia, but I find myself playing any sport. “
Special collections: âI do a lot of online therapy, like shopping for clothes. I also have a lot of fan clothes and memorabilia from my favorite Rugby League team, the Brisbane Broncos, which I have been following since 1988. It’s ridiculous. I keep buying shirts, jerseys, shorts and socks for them. I have probably like 10 years of stuff from them.
Did you know?
â¢ Feuerriegel’s graphic novel, Fractured Shards, is slated for release by the end of 2021. It’s a longer, grainy, cinematic version of a comic book, and its first foray into the world comic book.
â¢ He previously co-hosted the Romy and Dan’s High School Reunion podcast with his friend Romy Park. It featured interviews with people the couple find inspiring in various industries.
â¢ He has accumulated over 66,600 followers on Instagram @thedanfeuerriegel.
BOYS WILL BE BOYS
Some of Feuerriegel’s favorite DAYS moments involve sharing scenes with Bryan R. Dattilo (Lucas) and Galen Gering (Rafe), whose Salem characters all have one big thing in common: They were all married to Alison’s Sami. Sweeney. And, of course, Lucas and Rafe both hate EJ. âI love doing scenes with these two guys,â smiles Feuerriegel. âI remember when I started working with them. They were so comfortable and just chatting, basically having fun between takes. Then they got down to it when we started shooting. But I tried to be very professional because I was always trying to figure things out. As time passed and Feuerriegel found his place and learned of the history between the three men, he embraced the possibility of being a part of their bickering and banter club. âNow when we have scenes together, we can all act out – Bryan, Galen and me,â he notes. “We say to ourselves: ‘Okay, let’s be [jerks] to one another. Let’s have fun with it. Let’s do this. ‘ We are having fun [exchanging] beards and give each other shit. Because they’re both on the show for so long, they’ll be doing something irreverent based on their character, and now I’m okay with that. They know what to do and are comfortable with it, so I’ll say, “Okay, we’ll go that way then.” I go with it and it’s fun.