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Maurice Benard Discusses Playing "Dark" Sonny Versus "Mike" on General Hospital

Maurice Benard, General Hospital, Daytime Emmys 2021

General Hospital's Maurice Benard (Sonny) is loving playing his character as an amnesiac. As "Mike," Sonny is unaware of his past in Port Charles, which is something refreshing for the actor. 

Benard explained to Soap Opera Digest:

I was told about the story before it started. I had my inkling of how it would go, but I was into it, to do something different, to play a different energy, to put my hands in my pocket, to be just more of a version of me, Maurice, than I do with Sonny. Sonny’s just [a] hard character to play, man … It’s a mother! It’s dark, it’s dreadful. His motor, his engine, is like at about third gear.

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In contrast, he added:

I play Mike, I’m in first, second, maybe … I like Mike. I love Mike! I mean, it’s fun … I get a lot of comments like, 'We don’t care if you’re having a great time! Stop saying that! We want you back as Sonny!' And I understand that the audience, they want Sonny … Everybody’s entitled to how they feel and what they think [and] I think it’s going to be incredible when Sonny goes back to [Port Charles].

Currently, Nina (Cynthia Watros) is drawn to Sonny. Bernard raved about the actress, whom he called "so subtly good," but what makes a great leading lady? He mused:

[I think] chemistry comes from — there’s something that happens when you’re in a scene, like, [sometimes] two great actors — Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro — work together, it doesn’t work. So, there’s that special element that has to come in and I can’t even say what it is … The problem that I have on GH, like I always say, [is that] the audience is like my mother — no one is good enough for Sonny except Carly and Brenda! That’s just the way it’s worked … I believe I had something with Kelly [Sullivan, ex-Connie]. That broad could act! Let’s not fool anyone, she can act. And we had a relationship, a good relationship. But the fans don’t want it, it’s not happening, okay? Laura [Wright], you knew that it would work because all the other Carlys had worked except the one [Jennifer Bransford, who had a short-lived run in 2005] and Laura has so much energy and the contrast worked and that stuff, right. But there’s been other ones that I think had chemistry, could’ve worked, and it’s tough. It’s tough. When you become a Sonny/Brenda, Sonny/Carly, it’s tough to have [another pairing] — Mama says no one’s good enough for you [laughs]!