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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

News: Maurice Bernard on Going Back To Bensonhurst

 Thanksgiving may be over, but actor Maurice Benard still has something he’s thankful for: After 18 years playing mob boss Sonny Corinthos Jr. on General Hospital, the show’s writers still deliver new story lines that get him jazzed.

“I’m very excited about the stuff I’ve done in the last month, when Sonny and Kate [Kelly Sullivan] go to Bensonhurst,” says Benard of episodes that kick off today and deal with Sonny’s childhood abuse at the hands of his stepfather. “You know what it is? It’s kind of bringing back the Sonny that used to be. And I think it’s needed. I’m having a blast.”

The Sonny he’s talking about is the charming one, with “the little boy side, the vulnerable side,” he says. A Sonny that’s much different from the volatile, brooding character who’s been lurking around Port Charles. “From right now on, you will see a much lighter side [of Sonny],” he says. “Almost bringing out more of who I am.”

Shooting has sometimes been intense, he says. “There’s a scene where Sonny sees himself as a little boy. And the young actor they got [Aramis Knight] was dead on. There was a point when he was bawling and it reminded me of my son crying. And I started crying.”

As serious as filming may be, Benard still manages to have fun on the set, thanks to the script itself. “It’s got kind of old-movie type of writing. We say the lines quicker. It’s fun,” he says. “And I’m working with an actress who, for me, is as good as it gets.”
Sullivan took over the role of Kate (originated by Megan Ward) this past September, and Benard says she was perfect from the start. “I had auditions with her and it was like, Whoa! My first day with her, we were feeling each other out. I knew she was good, but I didn’t quite know. But boy, in a matter of couple weeks we’re just clicking.

But how definitively will Sonny close the door on the past, which has informed everything from his lust for power to his choice in women? “I know it changes Sonny and Kate’s relationship. That has to get stronger,” says Benard. “I would hope that he would just find happiness, and I think he’s starting to find it now. I know you can’t always be happy, but I think in writing him happier than he usually is, I would be happy with that.”


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