In Part One of our exclusive interview with Emmy winner Maurice Benard, the actor talked about his upcoming appearances (now scheduled for June), how he got into acting, and his early roles including Nico on ALL MY CHILDREN. In Part Two below, Benard shares his thoughts about his time at GENERAL HOSPITAL and more.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What has been your favorite storyline at GH?
Maurice Benard: When Lily died was intense for me. My nervous breakdown story was too intense for me. The AIDS storyline was phenomenal, not just for me, but in general. I think one of the coolest stories, as far as music and editing, was when Sonny shot Dante. That was about as good as you can get on a soap opera. And the abuse story. I've had a lot.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: In what way do you think Sonny has changed the most from 1993 to 2010?
Maurice Benard: He's had to mature because he has kids. Too many kids [laughs]. The kids are what keep him looking in the mirror. If he didn't have them, he'd be just as reckless now.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Have you enjoyed the storyline with Brenda returning?
Maurice Benard: It took a while for us to get together and once we began sharing more scenes, we started to find our groove. I'm really enjoying Vanessa. When we're acting, it's not like acting. For me, it's a joy. Early on I didn't know how it was going to be, if it was going to be the same as before. But acting with her now is even better than it used to be.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: When Brenda came back they showed so many classic flashbacks. It was great to see those old scenes with the same actors playing the roles. You can only get that on a daytime soap.
Maurice Benard: I was into it, too. Of course I'm critical of my acting, but I loved how they did it.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: A few daytime soaps have gone off the air the past couple of years and there are a lot of stories about the decline of daytime. On the other hand DAYS OF OUR LIVES, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL were renewed in recent months.
Maurice Benard: I don't see where all the worry is. These shows are getting renewed because there's interest. As long as we keep doing what we're doing and making them the best we can, they will keep going.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Do you have any interest in behind the scenes work like writing or directing?
Maurice Benard: No, I don't have any interest in anything but acting. I like to work with actors to try to make the scenes better. That's a passion for me.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You did an indie film last year, Confession. Do you enjoy working on outside projects like that?
Maurice Benard: The problem with doing an independent is you never know what you're going to get into. You have to know who is involved. But I'll do something if I see a great script and if the people involved are good.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Would you want to do theater at some point?
Maurice Benard: It would have to be the right thing. I've done theater and think I have the energy for it, but I would like a smaller theater so I wouldn't have to scream when I'm talking. But I'd been into it if I found the right project.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I saw Anthony Geary (GENERAL HOSPITAL's Luke Spencer) in "Into the Woods" in November in downtown Los Angeles and would love to see you in a show at some point.
Maurice Benard: I saw him in a one-act years ago and he blew my mind.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: As the owner of an African Grey parrot, I have to ask you about your African Grey.
Maurice Benard: They are the best talkers! I also have a macaw and a cockatoo. We have all kinds of animals. I had parakeets and a German Shepherd growing up but now we have horses, chinchillas, all kinds of stuff.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Do you live on a farm?
Maurice Benard: It's not a farm but it has stables. It's cool. We have so many animals I can't even tell you [laughs]. I come home and there's another animal somewhere!
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I bet your kids love that.
Maurice Benard: They love it. And they're good at taking care of the animals I have to say.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: If you could go back to 1987 when you first started acting and working on ALL MY CHILDREN and give yourself one piece of advice, knowing what you know now, what you would you say?
Maurice Benard: Stay out of your thoughts and live in the moment.