Say it Ain't So

Flash back to 1999, when an arrogant WASP with too many dollars but not enough sense named Julian Crane first stumbled across viewers’ screens. With a cheesy dye job and a brandy snifter permanently affixed to his right hand, this buffoonish, blue-blooded lush drank and skirt-chased his way from one predicament to the next. With most of them provoked by his mouth or libido, Julian was often Public Enemy No. 1 in Harmony (and privately, too, within the Crane clan), and found himself on the business end of too many fists, palms and even guns, when someone in town (viewers still don’t know who) tried to off him in a boiling vat of tuna.Fast-forward to 2004. Perhaps metaphorically, Julian let his hair go au naturel, as the character is now alternately consumed by two natural, serious, bittersweet relationships: one with his estranged son, Fox, and one with his old flame and (love of his life), Eve, as they embark on finding their MIA son. While Julian still gives viewers a hefty supply of LOL’s — he’s still the town’s favorite punching bag, and never manages to stay on the wagon for very long — the character has steadily progressed from being one-man comic-relief to becoming its stand-out leading man and core family patriarch.Ben Masters declares he’s welcomed the transformation to a kinder, gentler Julian. “It just sneaked up on me at first,” says the actor.” Jim Reilly (PASSIONS creator/head writer/consulting producer) laid a couple of nuggets on me that I didn’t know if I should take. But I did, and I’m glad that I did, because the road that he is now taking Julian down is a very interesting wide highway with all sorts of possibilities. It was a shock for the audience at first to see a kinder, softer Julian, especially with Eve, but thankfully, they’ve seemed to take to it for the most part.”And he does pay attention. “I’m a big fan of cruising the soap message boards on the Internet,” reveals Masters. “Generally, fans have been ecstatic about this, but of course, there are always a few detractors who go on about how they hate the lap dog poodle Julian has become. And then once in a while some Juvy (Julian and Ivy) fans with their pointed little heads come up and there is a lot of screaming on the boards to bring back Juvy, and they’ll like hijack the whole message board for the evenings. And then others come in and scream for them to get off the board. My God, they get like feral beasts on there. I had this one really rabid Juvy fan who came to the annual fan club get-togethers each year from the beginning. She’d show up and would go on and on with pictures and things she’d made, but she didn’t come this year, so I think she’s really pissed at how I’ve changed.”One big fan of Julian’s change is Masters’ longtime girlfriend, Susan, who “keeps tabs on things a little too closely. She says she feels like Rebecca,” cracks Masters. Does that mean he’s kept on a short leash at home? “Oh, no, I’m too old for that! She appreciates that this is my job and this is what I’ve done for 30 years, and that part of my job is to romance and kiss beautiful women on the screen. But she also feels the more realistic and naturalistic stuff we’ve been playing now is more ‘on the money,’ as it were.”

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