A Leg Up On Allegra

Soap Opera Digest: How would you rate your time at GH?
Meg Bennett: I had the best time. It has been fabulous. Sam pulled a knife on Allegra a couple of times. Jason put her in chokeholds a couple of times and [Allegra] pulled guns on them. It was great. Steve Burton [Jason] is hysterical. Kelly [Monaco, Sam] is wonderful. I always worry when I’m over at GH that everybody’s being so nice to me because I’m [Head Writer Robert Guza, Jr.’s] wife, but they really are nice, sweet people. All of them.

Digest: We heard that the character was originally supposed to be named Patricia.
Bennett: Me, too. I think they went back and forth on it. But what cracked me up was in the TV Guide issue that had the article about me coming to the show, one of the first pages was a full-page ad for [the allergy medication] Allegra. Bob’s fix on it was, “We’ll call her Allegra, her daughter [Alicia] can be Aleve, and we’ll make Andrew Sudafed [laughs].” It is a cool name, though. It’s not like they were naming me Tylenol.

Digest: Did you enjoy playing a villainess?
Bennett: It was definitely a change of pace. I liked that she wasn’t just black or white. Allegra was pretty awful and pretty cutthroat, but she truly grew a warm affection for Sam and ended up doing the noble thing in the end. She really felt like Sam was more her daughter than her own daughter. She was really different than anybody on the show.Digest: How was it getting back into the frenetic pace of taping a daytime soap?
Bennett: The schedule is unbelievable. I can’t believe they do this every day. It’s so hard, especially since GH now is doing five shows in four days to save on production costs. It moves like lightning. I was getting up at 5 in the morning, was on the set at 7, shot 10 or 15 scenes and would be out of there before noon. You just think, “Who was that masked actor? Did I say it? Did I do it?” You feel like if you hit your marks and say your words, you’ve had a victory. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be good at memorizing lines anymore and every day I’d think, “Is today the day my brain’s going to shut down and I won’t remember a thing?” But I did it.

Digest: You and Bob have worked together as writers, but how did it go this time as head writer and actress?
Bennett: The most fun thing was Bob would run lines with me, and he’s a great Sam [laughs]. It brought us close because usually at night he’s exhausted and just trying to get ready for work the next day, but I’d go, “Please, please run lines with me,” and we’d spend an hour going over lines together, which was really fun.

Digest: Were you concerned about going off-script?
Bennett: I was very mindful of not going off-script because having been a writer, I know how much it drives you nuts. And I thought, “I don’t want to set a bad example so I’m going to do my darndest not to.” Occasionally you do flip a word for something else just because you’re trying to remember so much. But I really tried to stick to it. The scripts were wonderful. At one point I was going, “Don’t work so hard to make it fun for me.” They were giving me long speeches and I was memorizing like crazy, but they really made it fun.

Digest: You were in the play Haunted Heart in Los Angeles earlier this year; now GH. Have you been writing at all?
Bennett: I’ve actually been working on a book, which is so bizarre for me. And sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to make myself go back to the computer because there’s no deadline. There’s no “Get your script in by the end of the day!” So it’s hard to make myself do it, but there’s a lot to draw on. When I quit writing B&B, I thought I wouldn’t spend so much time at my computer, but now I’m at the computer all the time. E-mail is my life.

Digest: So, could we get you back in front of the camera again, as either Allegra or maybe even Julia?
Bennett: This experience was really just for fun, but I have to tell you, it has given me a whole new attitude about acting now so yes, I’m open if they’re open.

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