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ICYMI: Jonathan Bennett interview

Screen shot 2017 01 04 at 10 50 34 am
Jonathan Bennett Credit: Brent Weber

The Sweet Hereafter

ALL MY CHILDREN alum Jonathan Bennett is having his cake and eating it, too.

It has been almost 16 years since Jonathan Bennett debuted on ALL MY CHILDREN, a fact that surprises the actor. “Are you kidding?” he exclaims. “I can’t believe that, actually. It makes me feel old as dirt [laughs]!”
Bennett debuted as JR Chandler in 2001 and stayed with the show until October 2002. It was a part he may not have gotten had he not chosen to make a move during his audition. “I found out years later from Casting Director Judy Blye Wilson why I got cast,” he relays. “It was because I got bored during the audition and leaned up against a wall. They thought it was an actor choice and that I was being edgy and didn’t care. But it was literally because I am really hyper and the audition was taking a long time. So I just got tired and leaned up against the wall. They thought it was so cool.”

After landing the role, Bennett went toe-to-toe with some heavy hitters, mainly the late, legendary David Canary, who played his on-screen father, Adam. “He was absolutely the best to work with,” Bennett raves. “He brought up everyone in the scene around him because he was so talented. When you would be on set working with him, your level of talent would rise because he was so good. The first day you work with David Canary, when he is playing Adam Chandler and he yells at you for the first time, is intimidating.” The actor also has fond memories of on-screen sis Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley). “She is the funniest person I have ever met,” he enthuses.

Jonathan Bennett David Canary


While his Pine Valley stint didn’t last too long, Bennett took some important lessons from his time there. “I learned how to learn dialogue really quickly and take direction on the fly, which really helped when making films, especially independent films,” he notes. “And [with] hosting, you have to think on your feet and make a decision.”

A couple of years after leaving daytime, the actor landed the role of Aaron Samuels in 2004’s Mean Girls, opposite Lindsay Lohan (ex-Alli, ANOTHER WORLD), which put him on the Hollywood map. “It was the biggest blessing in the world,” he reflects. “I owe everything in my career and everything in my life, pretty much, to [Writer] Tina Fey, [Producer] Lorne Michaels and [Director] Mark Waters.”

Bennett has worked steadily ever since. In his new Lifetime movie, MOMMY, I DIDN’T DO IT, which is a sequel to the 2013 Lifetime movie, THE WRONG WOMAN, the actor reprises his role of Ben Saverin. The film follows the story of attorney Ellen Plainview (Danica McKellar) and her daughter, Julie, played by Paige Searcy (Jade, DAYS), who is accused of murdering her high school teacher. The actor jumped at the chance to work with McKellar again. “She and I became very close friends when we did the first movie together,” he says. “She was such an angel, and though she had never met my dad, she talked with him on the phone a few times and would send him care packages. He loved her so much; getting to be back on set with her was such a blessing.”

Jonathan Bennett Danica McKellar


The film wraps with what appears to be a happy ending for Ben and Ellen. Bennett says he would be up for another go-round. “That is the hope. I would love to do a third one,” he adds.

These days, Bennett is perhaps most recognized as the host of CAKE WARS on Food Network. “I love the Food Network,” he praises. “It is the best company to work for. You get to come [in] every day and have a blast at work and make people happy with cakes.” Bennett welcomes the change of pace from acting.


“It is so much fun. I like just being able to be yourself and have a blast. You can’t screw it up because it is just you playing you. I have learned some things that work comedy-wise when I do hosting that I have been able to translate to auditions and acting on film.”

But his natural enthusiasm in front of the camera is sometimes an issue, he admits. “I always go too far and every episode they have to pull me back, but that is what is so fun about hosting,” he smiles.

Bennett says he would also welcome the chance to re-enter the daytime arena. “I would 100 percent go back to do another soap,” he declares. “They are so fun.” He is especially grateful for the fans who  have stuck with him since the beginning. “I have gone from playing a drug- addicted teenager on a soap, to being Aaron Samuels in Mean Girls, to dancing my face off on television and hosting a show about cakes, and they have followed me through every single journey and I cannot thank them enough. I just always want them to keep their eyes open, because with that resumé, you never know where I am going to pop up next.”

Jonathan Bennett Lindsay Lohan

One of Bennett’s biggest career challenges was as a celebrity contestant on season 19 of DANCING WITH THE STARS. “It was so intense and so hard, but it was the most fun and miserable time you will ever have!” he says. “The hours, the physical demands, the time, the emotional and mental focus and stamina that you have to have for that show is really grueling. But the excitement, fun and adrenaline rush  is the best thing you will ever experience.”
The show holds a very special place in Bennett’s heart for reasons other than that he appeared on it. ”When both of my parents were sick in their final years, one of the only shows they would watch was DANCING WITH THE STARS because it made them happy. I just thought it was a little ironic that the year after they passed, that I would get the opportunity to do the show, so I wonder who was pulling strings somewhere. It was exciting to get to go on the show and honor them by feeling alive again.”



Just The Facts

Birthday: June 10

TV Time: Bennett is a fan of Bravo’s BELOW DECK, and would love to star in a reality show. “I would do a reality show in a heartbeat. I think it should be a show about my life. I have a weird and interesting life.”

Friends, Indeed: The actor is still friends with Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe, DAYS), his co-star in the film Divorce Invitation. “She is great. I have worked with every soap actress in Hollywood. I don’t think there is anyone left.”

Do I Know You? “I ran into Elizabeth Hendrickson [ex- Maggie, AMC; Chloe, Y&R] recently.”

Get Social: Follow him on Twitter @JonathanBennett, as JonathanDBennett on Instagram and JonBennettSnap on Snapchat.