When Maurice Benard first joined the cast of GENERAL HOSPITAL, the character of Sonny Corinthos was only meant to be a short-term role, lasting about six months. But now, 25 years later, the actor reveals how everything changed. “It was towards the end of the six months,” Benard confided to Soaps In Depth. “I decided, ‘You know what? Maybe I’ll stay here and change the way I’m playing this character to get some compassion from the audience.’
“So I did that,” he continued. “The audience at first hated me. They didn’t want me on the show. But slowly, the started saying, ‘I hate this guy… but there’s something about him.’ Then, eventually it was love/hate, and then it started changing.”
Looking at Sonny today, it might be hard for some fans to imagine that he was once more of a supporting character. But we have Anthony Geary (Luke) for helping make Sonny into the character he became. “I was like his sidekick,” Benard recalled of his former castmate, “and he took me aside and said, ‘Do you want to be the Tonto to my Lone Ranger?’ I said, ‘I don’t mind, Tony, because you’re Tony Geary, and I’m cool with that.’ He said, ‘You don’t want to do that. Go upstairs and tell them you want a family.’
“So I went upstairs and said to them, ‘Look, this isn’t any kind of demand or threat, but creatively, I need to do more,’” he explained. “I think my contract was coming up, and I suggested it would be good for Sonny to have a family and some history on the show. I said, ‘You don’t have to do it. You can say ‘Thank you, but no thank you,’ and I’ll leave. Or we can do this and I’ll work hard and it’ll be great.’ So they wrote Brenda and Mike — a girlfriend and a father. And then it kind of grew from there.”
And the rest, as they say, is history! For more on your favorite GH stars, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!
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