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Maurice Benard Talks On Tyler Christopher’s ‘State of Mind’ Appearance & GH’s Nina/Sonny/Carly Drama

Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin

General Hospital’s Emmy-winning star, Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) welcomes another Emmy-winning actor, Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, GH and ex-Stefan, DAYS), on the latest episode of his You Tube series, State of Mind.  The emotional and revealing interview will stream beginning tomorrow on Sunday, March 27th (10am PT) here.

As daytime fans know, Tyler, who previously struggled with alcohol, and had to exit both soaps he appeared on, faced numerous other hardships and challenges on his journey to reclaim his life. Now, he opens up for the first time anywhere with his former GH castmate.  The conversation promises to be enlightening and heartbreaking, but through it all, Tyler will share his experiences of what he has endured and how he has come out the other side of it.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Maurice Benard to preview his State of Mind discussion with Tyler, and later to get some insights on all the drama facing Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, as the mobster’s romantic life has caused seismic cracks in his relationships with his family in Port Charles, as the ABC drama series nears its 59th anniversary on April 1st.

Will Sonny and Nina Reeves (Cynthia Watros) be able to sustain the relationship they seem to be embarking on? Will Sonny and Carly (Laura Wright) somehow find a way back to each other? During our chat, Maurice reveals how he played some of the key scenes in the arc of the story thus far, that has now been front and center for more than a year on the ABC daytime drama series, and teases what might be to come.  Check out what Maurice had to say about it all below.

Photo: MBIG

For your latest episode of State of Mind, did you reach out to Tyler to be a guest?  How did it all come to pass?

MAURICE:  I hadn’t seen Tyler, but I’d been kind of texting him. I asked if he wanted to come on State of Mind, or if he was ready to come on, and he said “yes.”  I told him what I tell everybody when we tape, which is, “Whatever you don’t want, I cut out, or if you want to stop, we stop.”  In the many interviews, I’ve done on State of Mind, no one has ever stopped, and only one person has ever asked me to cut something out.

Was Tyler mostly an open book for you during your conversation?

MAURICE:  Tyler came in for the taping and I could see he was a little nervous, but he sat down, we talked a little bit, and I said, “You ready, buddy?”  He said, “Ask away.  Anything you want.”  One of the first things that I said to him, which was a fact: “You know, Tyler, in 58 years on General Hospital, there have only been three actors who have won Best Actor Emmys, and you’re one of them.”  I knew that would start the conversation up.  I was so proud of him.  I knew that it was a little scary for him, but he did it.  I think what made it more comfortable for him is that we are friends, we love each other, and that I’m not here with any interview to exploit anybody. I’m just here to hear people’s stories.

So, when people watch this episode, obviously he talks about his struggles with alcohol, being let-go from his roles on the soaps, etc?

MAURICE:  He talks about everything in it. We talked about his childhood up until now. Yes, I brought up his exit from GH and Days. It needed to be brought up.  He also brought up being homeless.

Courtesy/MBStateofMind

How was it for you conducting the interview with Tyler? Was it very emotional for you, as well?

MAURICE:  This was even more emotional for me, because I needed it to be good for him.  I didn’t want to mess it up for him in anyway. Tyler’s bipolar, so we’re brothers in that way.

Tyler, in my opinion, is one of the finest actors ever to be on daytime. Would you agree?

MAURICE:  Oh, yeah.  He can deliver the goods, and he’s got intensity, plus he’s been through a lot in his life.  I will say this, if you’re a fan of Tyler’s you’re going to be very happy with this episode of State of Mind.

Tyler is trying to get back his career back on track and we are all looking forward to seeing him again.

MAURICE:  I just talked with him the other day and he sounded great.  I just love to hear him sound good.  It makes me feel great.  I know he’s got a few independent films he’s working on too.

Courtesy: StateofMind

You feel your series is like your baby, right?  You want to keep taking this to the next level?

MAURICE:  Yes, it really feels like a child, and I’ve seen it grow. You want it to do well in all aspects, but it’s like my editor, Melissa keeps saying to me, “Just do what you’re doing because you’re helping people,” and that is the through line.

So, obviously this interview with Tyler will be a must-see,  Are there any other episodes of State of Mind that you also think can’t be missed?

MAURICE: The J.R. Martinez episode, which is right now on State of Mind, when I saw it again, I just felt like, I’m never going to complain about anything again, ever.  To see him visualize what he went through, it’s really moving.  I’m thinking also in terms of the look of it and everything, it’s as good as I’ve done so far.  It’s one of my best.

Let’s talk General Hospital. What do you think of the break-up of Sonny and Carly’s marriage? You can’t have a happy marriage for years and years on a soap, although Sonny and Carly had a good run this time!

MAURICE:  You know what? Sonny and Carly were together as long as I’ve seen anyone.  Luke and Laura, they broke up.  Sonny and Brenda only lasted two years. We lasted (and it may not be over yet) … but it was a long run and that doesn’t happen often.

What do you think of Sonny’s drinking, through? Is this going to be a recurring problem for him? 

MAURICE:  Well, Nina gets him to stop drinking, and I don’t want it to be like Nina is only with him to take care of the damaged guy. It’s good for acting to be able to play that stuff, but we’ve got to move forward now, and it does.  That’s the beauty of GH now, whenever I’m thinking something, it seems like they’re doing it.

Photo: ABC

Do you see Nina and Sonny as an enduring viable couple?

MAURICE:  I do, and I didn’t when we first started working together.  I told Cynthia, “This isn’t going to work well, and I’m playing this cowboy, but let’s have fun!  Let’s do it!” and that’s how it started.  The beauty of it was that we had nine months to build the relationship, and we weren’t trying.  We were on our own island over there in Nixon Falls, and it just progressed. With Cynthia, she has the vulnerability to sell the storyline, and if she didn’t have vulnerability, it wouldn’t work. I love Cynthia as an actress. We just have a kind of easiness in our scenes.

Photo: ABC

Well, that’s the thing, because once Nina kept Sonny away from Carly and his family, it was like, “How on earth do we root for this woman?” Many viewers are like, “I can’t believe Sonny’s not coming down harder on her and getting Nina out of his life!”

MAURICE: The fans came down on me because Sonny didn’t punish Nina, but when I did those scenes in the graveyard with her, when I first was Sonny again, I went off on her!  In my mind, I wasn’t holding back at all.  Now, if there is pain that comes out in that moment, it came out as Mike because, let’s not forget, he was, or is, in love with her. That doesn’t just go away, but I said in my mind, “I’m going off on her in these scenes!” Look, Sonny is a violent guy, but he always doesn’t want to be.  If he was just a violent guy and wanted to be, it wouldn’t work. I will say this, you will see, in the coming weeks, Sonny comes back, and I love playing it.  He does some harsh stuff.  I had scenes with Ms. Woo (Lydia Lock) that aired this week, and you could see a difference there. They changed my wardrobe, so I’m dressing more like when I first started on the show with a sport jacket and a sweater underneath, and I like that.  I just knew that I had to start changing him, and what’s beautiful is that the writing has done at the same time. For anybody who wants the old Sonny, they’re definitely going to get that… with a little Mike sprinkled in there.  I think with Nina (and this is not from me knowing anything, it’s assuming), it may be more like Sonny’s relationship with Brenda, where she doesn’t know anything about his business or the mob dealings, and he doesn’t tell her.

Courtesy/ABC

How does Sonny truly feel about Carly and Jason getting married and walking in on them in his bedroom? It seemed like, he just went, “Hey, I’m here.”  Now, Sonny threw Jason up in Carly’s face during their fight on the Haunted Star. Was Sonny jealous of Jason, and did he realize that he walked in on them about to have sex?

MAURICE:  Yeah, I played it like I did know, but I was going to act like I didn’t want to know.

That’s such a smart choice because Sonny seems awfully upset about it now.

MAURICE:  My wife and I had an argument about this.  She said, “Honey, with these guys, gangsters, there’s a code.  If you die, your best friend doesn’t marry your wife.”  I said, “Honey, if these guys are that way, they’d rather you marry a stranger because the best friend doesn’t go near the wife.”  So, Sonny walks in, and they’re there, and he knew they looked kind of weird, but he doesn’t want to go there because he’d just come back from Nixon Falls. There’s nothing he can do about it. It’s nine months later, your wife marries your best friend. In his head, Sonny could be thinking, “Were they always in love?” Now, originally Sonny doesn’t touch Nina, but he has feelings for her.  So, Jason’s with Carly, Jason dies, there’s a lot going on, and Carly asks Sonny if he has feelings for Nina.  Now, he wasn’t going to lie.  That wouldn’t be cool.  He said he kind of does, but they could work through it.  Now when Sonny and Nina get together and he cheats on Carly that was bad on Sonny’s part.  I’ll take the hit for Sonny sleeping with another woman if it brings great scenes, and everybody gets to kick some butt.

Photo: ABC

Sonny and Carly really went at each other on the Haunted Star in that knock-out drag-out argument over the state of their marriage, and people could see both sides of the story from the characters perspective.

MAURICE:  What people don’t want to bring up is that Sonny begged for like two months to Carly to take him back and make it work.  Sonny thought Carly was worth it for him to beg that long, so that once she caught him with Nina, I just said, “I’m just going to play it like, let it go.”  So, that’s what was cool about those scenes.

 

Photo: ABC

GH is revving up the divide between Sonny and his son, Michael (Chad Duell).  It clearly looks like lines are drawn and Michael is standing up to Sonny for hurting Carly and standing by Nina. Will this play out for some time to come?

MAURICE:  Yes, I just hope that they find ways to do it differently because you can’t have the same fight over and over.  However, I’m watching Chad like, “Woo… okay!  What kind of vitamins is he taking?” (Laughs) There’s more at stake now.  It’s a challenge, and I love it.  It’s up to me to make the right acting choices, but it’s very cool because they have Dante (Dominic Zamprogna), Brando (Johnny Wactor, and Nina on my side, and that’s something that I haven’t really seen.  It’s usually everybody against Sonny, right?  The Quartermaine’s, Jason, Carly… we could go down the line… when he killed Michael’s father, when Michael got shot in the head was in a coma… do you want me to keep going? Sonny is always at fault, and then everybody is upset at me.  At least now, Sonny has some people to talk to.  It makes it a little easier for him.

Photo: ABC

What do you think it is with Sonny/Carly that makes it work when you are in scenes with Laura Wright?

MAURICE:  I think that with Carly, the character is so explosive that it’s never going to be boring between her and Sonny.  Laura is so powerful and her acting is like fireworks, but with me, I’ll put her in her place, like she puts me in my place. With Laura, I always say, I’ve never had an argument, which is amazing.  I think what it is with how it is now is that we want to shake it up.  That’s it.  We just want to shake it up, take some chances so we can write different stories.  I love playing Sonny and Carly.  Their relationship holds some of the greatest moments I’ve done in the last 28 years.  Now, with the current story there is one thing I was to be clear on: connecting the dots.  This wasn’t just an overnight thing or a month’s story and then we’re in it.  This has been building for a long time.

Photo: ABC

What does Sonny think of Drew (Cameron Mathison) and Carly’s burgeoning attraction to one another?

MAURICE:  Oh, he’s not thrilled by Drew.  I like that.  I can’t wait to start playing jealous.

Courtesy/ABC

Is there hope for a Carly and Sonny reconciliation down the line? 

MAURICE:  It’s never how you start a story; it’s how you finish a story.  You want to start on a sound footing as far as writing it, but no one knows how it’s going to end.  I don’t even think the writers do.  They’re just enjoying writing the journey.  So, we don’t know.  Sonny and Carly’s history is so big.  It can be a bit scary in taking a chance in doing what they did by putting Sonny with Nina.

The point is, I think it’s important to explain that when you are excited about a story, it’s a new story, and as an actor, it’s exciting to play something different.  It’s no disrespect to what you have with Sonny/Carly as opposed to Sonny/Nina.

MAURICE:  Yes.  You’re accurate.

Even Laura has commented, at times, that she is a fan of Sonny/Nina.  If they pair Carly with Drew, it’s new and it’s different, and exciting potentially to the fans, as well.

Photo: ABC

MAURICE:  This is something that I would say, which is the truth, if all of a sudden Carly is with Drew or whoever, and then everybody loves Cameron and Laura together.  It’s like, everybody loves the honeymoon.  Now, my honeymoon is different because Sonny did something that wasn’t good by cheating.  I always see this in the soaps…. everybody loves the new pairing when it starts.  How you judge is it after the honeymoon, right?    Right now, we can get exciting story for the next, who knows how long, and that’s always a plus for the show.

So, are you looking forward to watching Tyler’s interview with Maurice? How do you want to see the on-screen duos play out out on General Hospital? Are you rooting for Sonny/Nina? Sonny/Carly? Carly/Drew? Share your thoughts in the comment section, but first check out this preview for Sunday’s ‘State of Mind’ with Tyler.

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I’m sorry, folks, but so many things about this interview bother me, I don’t know where to start. First, the show is monopolized by the Corinthos Crime Hour; must it dominate this site as well? Second, I didn’t mind Tyler Christopher’s acting but anointing him as one of the finest daytime actors ever should remain only an opinion. Third, I felt there were hidden slams against the current Nikolas, as if HE were behind Christopher’s ousting. Bad form. Finally, I’m glad TC has been diagnosed as bi-polar and I wish him well in life and future endeavors. There, rant over.

I’m with you on this, Soaphound. I found this to be a snoozefest. We’ve read a lot about Benard’s state of mind, but his ego and arrogance are turning off increasing numbers of viewers. I’ve long tired of his top-dog status with this show. All this discussion and analysis of the Corinthos clan’s so-called importance to the show is nauseating.

Agree

I’m ranting right along with you, Soaphound–The Corinthos dominate every corner, every space on stage.
Are we the only viewers who hold such antipathy to said “family”?
To add insult to injury, my sister was telling me that Ramsey is returning as Peter’s twin?—I don’t read tabloids and such—how true is that? Only the elite get away with nepotism—
Aside—was Madeline the supposed woman who left “her” baby behind at the commune? Was that baby Nina’s child? Hmmmm–

I will definitely watch Maurice and Christopher’s State of mind, especially after Maurice gave us all this info on his threesome with Carly and Nina, who to tell you the truth I like him better with.What she did was lousy but try to remember the saying “There but for the Grace of God go I” when you’ve lived as long as I have you realize that everything is not black and white and that darn grey sneaks in there. I like Cameron even though he goes by the name Drew. There will only be one Drew for me. Anyway,he’s such a good guy, wanting to be there for everyone, but I know after Carly gets him in her clutches, she’ll break his heart when and if she and Sonny reunite.

I applaud Mo’s State of Mind Series. It’s always enlightening. However, I think Mo and his ego have done damage to the character of Sonny. I literally fast forward these Nina & Sonny scenes. I understand if an actor wants change, in that case take a long vacation from show or leave. Majority of fans invest in characters & damaging Carly’s character & rewrite psycho Nina doesn’t fly for this long time fan. Besides they take too much screen time from other talented actors on the show that deserve consistent stories.

Psycho Nina is right! If she turns out to be Willow’s real mother, watch how nutty she gets!

Nope…Carly and Sonny all the way! They know each other and Mo is right he tried to stay with Carly and she pushed him to Nina! Hell he came back for Carly!
I get it but I don’t like it! Definitely getting old now so Jack up someone else life for awhile and no not Michael and Willows either!! We would like to see more of Kathleen Gati and some of the other actors as well!
And for gods sake get rid of Esme…Lol…She’s working on my SOM! ‍♀️‍♀️ Would love to have TC back for sure by the way as well! ❤️

I agree Tyler Christopher is a good actor but lets not show any “disrespect” for the actor who took over the role of Nicholas which unfortunately this article has done. And once Maurice Benard talked about Nina exhibiting vulnerability it was like a viewer wanting to say “you have got to be kidding” or let me check to see if its April 1st.I am sure many viewers watch GH for the storylines and entertainment value that we have seen through the yrs. I am sorry but all I see from the character of Nina is an unbalanced individual who is very similar to her daughter Nelle.But wait , after this interview I am suppose to believe otherwise because Maurice Benard sees a vulnerability in Nina. Sorry , but lets omit the ego and wants of any actor or actress on GH , however, I am very pleased for Tyler Christopher. Plus after reading this I can”t help but give the character of Nina a huge “thumbs down” ,thank you Maurice Benard for expressing your thoughts but I see no vulnerability in any scenes Nina has with anyone on GH.

Just watched Christopher and Maurice and Christopher’s gone through hell and back. I just hope he continues getting the help he needs to keep him on the right track.I’d love seeing him back on GH or any other show. My very best to him and his continued recovery.

Carly and sonny all the way, they are the best together, nina and sonny boring.

Agree, I want Sonny back, not lightweight Mike who condones Ninas betrayal over loyalty to his family, the whole thing is a dud.

I know, Soapkin. And how about his “dealing” with Esme? Even SHE came out on top in that confrontation. In the old days, she’d be floating face down at everyone’s favorite go-to dockside hangout. While not condoning violence, Sonny needs to get back his mobster mojo and start dealing with things once and for all. By the way, did that “brilliant” police chief Jordan check for fingerprints on the phone Esme planted? Trina certainly didn’t touch it. And why would such a “devious mastermind” keep the phone anyway? If she was gonna keep it, she could have just used her OWN phone in the first place! Port Charles PD strikes again!

I am rooting for Carly_Sonny.She needs too find her own man. Long time fan.

Big fan of sonny and carly I hate sonny being with nina

I agree Sonny and Carly❤️ And bring back the old Trina

The old Trina left so she could go to college at UCLA. So it’s not likely she’s coming back. Maybe in 4 years… but not until she’s got her degree.

I do agree she was much better in the role, but I’m not going to hold it against her that she wanted an education to have another path for the future, should this acting thing not work for her, long term.

Well I’m probably in the minority but I like Sonny and Carly apart so much better!The character of sonny is a little less dark with Nina wich is more interesting although Nina is nutso!Drew and Carly are fun together it makes her more likable less intense and definitely a little more human!
The interview was amazing and Tyler Christopher had a lot of guts to put it all out there……I hope he continues to be able to stay sober and has success in whatever he does in the future!

General Hospital

George Russo to Appear on General Hospital as Carmine Cerullo

Coming up, it looks like Brook Lynn’s (Amanda Setton) grandfather, Carmine Cerullo is headed to Port Charles.

According to casting news from the ABC soap opera, George Russo will take on the role. Russo will tape his episode next week on April 15th and will appear on the May 15th episode of the long-running daytime drama series.

If George looks familiar he has been in numerous primetime television shows and motion pictures including: The Offer. Winning Time, Grand Crew and Shameless.

Photo: ABC

Longtime GH viewers will recall that Lois’ (Rena Sofer) dad, Carmine, was previously showed up in Port Charles on and off from 1994 to 1996 and was played by John Capudice.

Clearly, it seems that Carmine will be a part of Chase (Josh Swickard) and Brook Lynn’s wedding.  Will it go off without a hitch? Are you looking forward to it? Stay tuned.

Who else would you like to see attend the nuptials? Gloria Cerullo (Ellen Travolta), any other blasts from the pasts who should be present? Let us know in the comment section.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Drew and Nina Get Physical; Were You Surprised or Did You Expect it to Happen?

On the Tuesday, April 9th episode of General Hospital, Drew (Cameron Mathison) and Nina’s (Cynthia Watros) explosive relationship just turned up the heat another notch.

In story, Nina who was responsible (although she doesn’t see it that way) for Drew being sent to prison for insider trading when she tipped off the SEC, let out her feelings to him about how to get back in the good graces of her daughter, Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) and Michael (Chad Duell). In doing so, she asks him for his help with it.

For months, the two have had nothing short of contentious moments, where Drew has not let Nina off the hook for what he did to him, or to his ex Carly (Laura Wright). Fast-forward and when alone in the Crimson office, Nina brings up wanting to stick it to Carly again.

Photo: ABC

As they banter back and forth, Drew can’t figure out why he should help Nina at all with any of her manipulations. Suddenly, as he tried to exit, his shirt rips and exposes his bare chest and abs, and Nina get quite an eyeful. From there, things become physical and before you know it, Drew and Nina are making out and having their version of hate-sex.

Courtesy/ABC

Cameron Mathison spoke to Soap Opera Digest on the shocking turn events, sharing, “I didn’t see it coming at all. I really didn’t. I think the audience did. Cynthia did some appearances and I guess the audience was ‘You and Drew, there’s some sexy chemistry there.’ I was like, ‘Wait, what? Really?’ I didn’t even get it. So I love it that it was very unexpected. The writers saw it, too. And, I love that it’s not a typical way for two people to be … physical. I was gonna say intimate, but there’s not a lot of intimacy there. And then as soon as it’s over, it’s back to arguing and giving each other crap again. It was really cute and really well done.”

As the fallout for their office room romp will air on the Wednesday April 10th episode, just how will the two deal with the fact that they had this fiery passionate moment in the weeks and months ahead? Will this be Nina’s new plot to get at Carly to be seen with her ex? Will Drew and Nina never speak of this again? (Well, this is a soap opera, after all, that’s pretty doubtful), or is this part of a major reset for some of the characters on the canvas now that Patrick Mulcahey and Elizabeth Korte are co-head writing the show?

Courtesy/ABC

Speaking on the aftermath of the tryst, Mathison added, “The two of them are both like, all right, let’s forget about that and move on. It’s like a weird kind of aggression attraction. There’s obviously attraction there, but I don’t think either of them expected it, and I think they’re both totally shocked and surprised by it. I think Drew gets a kick out of it whereas Nina is a little embarrassed by it.”

Now let us know, did you see this coming? Did you think Drew and Nina would have sex? What do you think of the story turn? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Asher Antonyzyn Shares, “I Think That If Jason Doesn’t Get Sent Away Again, He and Danny Will Have a Really Great Connection”

It is clear that Danny Morgan (Asher Antonyzyn), as of right now, has the most character traits of his father, Jason Morgan (Steve Burton). When Jason returned to Port Charles and was hiding out at the Quartermaine boat house, viewers saw that Danny wanted to help out his dad as much as he could.

When the two shared a heart-to-heart about Danny’s passions and Jason learned he is turning out to be a sort of adrenaline junkie like himself, the father and son shared a bonding moment.

‘Asher Antonyzyn spoke to Soap Opera Digest about Danny having a lot more to do in story now that Jason is back, and how it has been working with Steve Burton and where he thinks the on-screen relationship can go.

Photo: JPI

When speaking of how Danny is drawn to adrenaline and danger like his father, Asher expressed: “I can’t keep count of all the times that people say, ‘Danny, he’s just like his dad!’ I think that if Jason doesn’t get sent away again, he and Danny will have a really great connection.”

On his screen-time with Steve Burton, Antonyzyn added,  “When Steve Burton was coming back as Jason, I was like, ‘Since Danny never really had storyline with him, maybe I’ll come back out here a lot more and be able to do that with him.’ And then it happened! So that was pretty cool.”

So, do you hope that Danny and Jason’s connection is explored further? Do you think we will watch Asher grow up and become Jason Morgan 2.0? Comment below.

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