Oh, Canada: GH's Shaun Benson Crosses The Border And Lands A Stellar Stateside JobBy Tara Shaffer Posted: Sep 27, 2004
Soap Opera Digest: As a daytime newcomer, how did you become involved in the soap scene?
Shaun Benson: I had moved down from Canada after doing a bunch of work up there. I had just gotten a visa, which lets me do anything in the United States as an artist, which is great. That was the biggest thing that happened to me prior to getting this show. My managers called and asked me how I felt about daytime. I said, "Talk to me about it," because I didn't have any feelings about it either way. It had been a year since I worked, and up in Canada I had worked for six years straight. I was training for the year in L.A. with some amazing teachers, but I was just ready to bite into some scripts.Digest: How did your audition go?
Benson: It was great. I still had some hesitance, though. When we got to screen-test time, we were negotiating to give me some more time in making a decision. And then one morning, I just woke up and said, "I'd love to do this." I'm really glad I made that decision.Digest: What's it like working so closely with Tamara Braun [Carly] and Corbin Bernsen [John]?
Benson: Tamara was my introduction to the show. First off, because I got to screen-test with her, I knew that our characters' relationship was what is important because they don't even really know where this story is going to go. It's up to us, as actors, to create a relationship that's worth watching. So when we rehearsed the scene before the screen test — and there were eight other guys who were all buff and waiting to do the same thing — I was just so focused on her. When we actually did it on film, it was so great. We elevated it all and really clicked.Digest: And Corbin?
Benson: It's very exciting for me. He's a hoot [laughs]. We were talking the other day at the coffee table, and he was like, "So, what did you do last night?" and I said, "I was out with these girls and blah, blah, blah...." It was great. We connect on a really "dude" level [laughs]. And the thing I enjoy about working with him is that we would converse for hours before shooting our scenes and really get to know why these characters are so invested in each other because he was here new, too.Digest: What have you enjoyed the most about working at GH so far?
Benson: I've really been enjoying the pace of the work — I've been working every day — and the scripts I've been getting. And everyone has been so nice. That's how I like it.Digest: You've been working with a lot of the cast.
Benson: Exactly. Because of all the relations that my character has, I've gotten to work with so many different actors ... and apparently that's rare. The way that I think about it is that I'm already entrenched in the mythology and history of the show, and it's a really nice feeling.Digest: Did you know much about your character when you started?
Benson: Zero. I was kind of left on my own to learn about it, but I was given every opportunity to talk to whoever I wanted. The scripts were self-explanatory, and I did sort out the different relationships just by talking to people. I filled in the gaps by talking to the writers.Digest: How do you like living in the States?
Benson: I'm so happy here. I love L.A., I love the coast, I love the weather and I love being able to keep the top off my car every day [laughs].Digest: In what part of Canada did you live?
Benson: I grew up just west of Toronto and then went to university in like a 300,000-person town. Then when I decided I wanted to be an actor, I moved to Toronto. The change wasn't too big because although it's not a coast town, Toronto is a bustling, intense, crazy city. I love it with all of my heart. And then I spent a year in Vancouver when I was shooting a show.Digest: So it wasn't a huge deal moving to Los Angeles.
Benson: Not at all. I'm a pretty self-sufficient guy. I like big cities and I like people a lot. I've made a lot of friends already.Digest: Is acting in Canada different from acting in the States?
Benson: Acting is not territorial at all. It's really all about the script. It's more the medium. I approach GENERAL HOSPITAL different from how I approach a film, a play or even another television show.