INTERVIEW

GH's Maurice Benard And Laura Wright On What's Next For "CarSon"

Now that Sonny has his memory back and has returned to Port Charles, Carly and Jason must grapple with how transparent to be with him about the feelings that emerged between them in Sonny’s absence — and Nina, who concealed the secret that Sonny was alive, will have to face the consequences of her actions.

Laura Wright (Carly) notes that this next stage of the storyline is what the show has been building to all year. “It’s why we’re here,” she declares. “The fallout. We have things happen so we can have consequences to action; that’s how we tell story. As much as people say, ‘Where’s the love? Everything’s always negative!’ Seriously, when everyone is happy and in love, you can only tell that story for so long. We have to have things happen. So, this — the fallout of Sonny being gone for nine months — is huge. Nine months where he wasn’t there. Nine months that he had another life. Nine months [later], not knowing how to communicate now with your person again because you might feel different. Me [as Carly] not knowing how to communicate with him because I’ve already been running the business. ‘I know how this business works. Don’t tell me to get out of it!’ I’m not saying that’s going to happen, I’m just saying, they’re two totally different people. Are Carly and Sonny really good at handling that kind of stuff? They’re hotheaded. They react instead of respond. They are very passionate and sometimes volatile people.”

At first, Sonny doesn’t pick up on the shift in Carly and Jason’s dynamic. “When Sonny gets back and sees Jason with Carly and we have these scenes, Sonny’s not supposed to know,” sets up Maurice Benard (Sonny). “Not even Maurice knew it was going to be like that [laughs]! So when Jason says, ‘We got married,’ true to Sonny, you see a shift in Sonny’s eyes. But they keep talking and Sonny goes, ‘Oh, you got married for business! Okay, great strategy!’ I played it almost like Sonny didn’t want to know know. Because if it wasn’t [just that], he was going to go berserk! He accepts that they got married for business. He can live with that. But in the scenes, I would be hugging Carly, and they’re having googly-eyes behind my back, okay? So now, as an actor, I have to adjust my choices and take it from there. I think the scenes were played well, really well, and Sonny doesn’t know they’ve fallen head over heels, which is good. I’m into it! I think it’s cool.” (Behind the scenes, the actor says, he has resisted giving guff to Jason’s portrayer, Steve Burton, over moving in on his character’s lady. “I’ve always done that with Steve, but now that it’s happening, there’s no joking around! It’s almost like it’s too close to home!”)

Benard points out that since Jason and Carly only got together because they believed Sonny was dead, “You can’t fault them a whole lot, because that happens; people fall in love [after losing a spouse]. But in Sonny’s eyes, if he ever finds out — it’s devastating. In Sonny’s eyes, it’s betrayal, devastation, the worst. Especially with his best friend! So, it’s an interesting thing because all the characters have justifications and they’re all kind of right.”

As he resumes playing Sonny, the actor is also negotiating how to portray the character now that he lived a simpler life as Mike in Nixon Falls for the better part of a year. At first, he says, “The only trace of Mike you may see is when he’s got tears in his eyes [in scenes with Nina]. I want it to play like he doesn’t understand why he has these tears, because he loves her [as Mike]. But I’m not going to walk different, stand different, put my hands in my pockets — it’s too much. Sonny’s like a panther, right? And Mike is like a teddy bear. You don’t want to mess with Sonny, man! They’re both bipolar, but Sonny is on that edge, dark. The last time I played Sonny, it felt really dark. But it’s not now. Now, it’s cool. Going back as Sonny, I’m finding the positive in it. That energy. You can rule the world, man! There’s a certain feeling as opposed to the dread and the darkness — that feeling of being on top of the world, your energy is strong, you can take anybody. That’s him. And don’t f—ing double-cross him! Put that in writing — don’t betray him [laughs]!”

Carly isn’t a huge fan of betrayal herself — and fans won’t have to wait long to see how she reacts to learning of the role Nina played in keeping her husband away from her. “I hope the audience loves it,” Wright enthuses of that long-anticipated show- down. “I feel like it’s the first of many things that are getting ready to happen when it comes to Carly and Nina. Of course! It’s never one and done on a soap opera, which is great. There is a lot of emotion, there’s a lot of feelings. It’s amazing to work with Cynthia [Watros, Nina],” she adds. “She’s an amazing, supportive co-star and co-worker and I’ve known her for a long time, and it’s just an honor to work with her. To be able to tell this story, and to play these scenes with someone that you respect so much, that is huge, I have to say. And on top of it, it’s fun [laughs]! It’s a lot of fun to tell this story.”

Sums up Wright about all the drama poised to roil through the Corinthos home in the weeks to come, “There is going to be a lot of emotion and excitement and joy and happiness, but yet, devastation and confusion. Lots of things, lots of wonderful things that we get to play, with the two people that the audience really root for. There are going to be all kinds of feels happening.”

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