General Hospital’s Maurice Benard and Laura Wright Unpack the Jason/Carly/Sonny/Nina Storyline — *and* Tease Its Aftermath: ‘It’s Going to Be Outrageous!’
“The next level is going to blow your mind,” promise the Emmy winners.
During the State of Mind that dropped on September 12, General Hospital star Maurice Benard starts off by reminding his longtime leading lady Laura Wright that when she was cast in 2005, “I was done with Carly.”
Ah, but the alumna of Loving, The City and Guiding Light was anything but done with him. It took a while, but the ABC soap eventually re-paired Sonny with his ex — and Benard and Wright made the coupling such a hit that fans have all but rioted over the storyline that’s split them up and paired them with Nina and Jason, respectively.
During their conversation, Wright tries to say that viewers are divided over the plot, but Benard only laughs. “Don’t even try to say it’s split. It’s maybe 90/10 [against it] now.”
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI, ABC screenshot
Brace Yourself for ‘the Next Level’
Whether that’s an accurate stat, both daytime vets understand why the story had to be told the way that it has been, with Sonny being presumed dead and beginning a new life as mellow amnesiac “Mike.” “You had to do something” big, Wright says. Since the Corinthoses had been through so much, from son Morgan’s death to Sonny’s father’s, “you can’t break [them] up in the old traditional way. They were so solid in their relationship that for them to split up in a way that was just silly would take away from the relationship.”
One thing Wright could do without, though, is “the nastiness” on social media. A lifelong soap fan, she is no stranger to yelling at her TV. But at the same time, she suggests, “we can also love that you’re gonna get [what you want in the end]. I can’t imagine [viewers] think you’re gonna stay [in Nixon Falls] forever.”
And when Sonny does remember that he’s Sonny and returns to Port Charles, Katie, bar the door. “The next level is going to blow your mind,” they agree, with Benard adding, “It’s going to be outrageous.”
Credit: ABC (2)
‘Everyone Is Doing the Best They Can’
What the co-stars wonder if viewers get is how sometimes something as mundane as scheduling can impact a storyline. “I was supposed to do a movie” while this was going on, Benard says. “Now I’m doing it at the end of the year, but that was it. It was like two or three weeks.”
And “that stuff happens a lot in storytelling,” Wright chimes in. So a longer story might wind up shortened, and a brief arc might find itself suddenly being stretched. “Everyone is doing the best they can,” she adds. “No one is showing up going, ‘How do we make this worse?’”
Is a Sonny/‘Mike’ Hybrid On the Way?
Wright also has an idea about how Sonny could be different when he resumes his old life — which should be music to Benard’s ears, seeing as he admits, “I don’t like Sonny. I don’t like his energy. I don’t like his darkness.” Playing that day in and day out can take a toll on an actor. So perhaps Sonny will retain some of the calm that characterized “Mike.” When all is said and done, “Mike’s experiences then become Sonny’s,” which impacts his journey, Wright theorizes. “Now, with every decision he makes, he’s like, ‘I know a different world.’” As a result, even for the Teflon don, “things aren’t so black-and-white maybe.”
What do you say, General Hospital fans? Would you like to see a little of “Mike” remain a part of Sonny? On your way to the comments, check out the interview in full above and stop off at the below photo gallery, which could fill in the blanks about the mobster’s family for him even faster than his loved ones could.
Video: YouTube/State of Mind