There’s nothing general about Maurice Benard, the longtime General Hospital star that has made Sonny Corinthos into one of the most popular and beloved Port Charles characters over the last quarter-century.
Maurice Benard: Everything For The Fans
Next week, he will be Soap Hub Insider’s very first Fireside Chat guest where he will answer your questions as well as give away autographed copies of his book. But first, we caught up with the actor in quarantine to talk about how life has been treating him during a time when the world seems to be upside down. In addition, he discussed two new projects he’s most proud of — a movie called Equal Standard and his long-awaited autobiography, the New York Times bestseller Nothing General About It: How Love (and Lithium) Saved Me On and Off General Hospital.
Telling His Story
Benard admits that the book idea was something he had for a while, but he wasn’t sure it would ever come to fruition. “Then Harper Collins decided to greenlight the book. And because of Susan Black, my partner, it was better than I expected.”
The book chronicles his time on General Hospital, his interactions with co-stars, and of course, his struggles with mental health. For more than two decades, the actor has been open about his struggles with bipolar disorder and it sometimes surprises him how much people want to discuss the mental health aspect of the book.
“You know it’s funny — when I do interviews about the book, 70% of it is mental health that people want to talk about and not General Hospital,” Benard tells Soap Hub, but he understands why. “There are a lot of people living with mental health issues these days,” he adds.
The busy actor has had another project debut recently, as well — the film Equal Standard, in which he plays a by-the-book cop named Captain Chavat Isaak in a story about “good cops and bad cops” in New York City.
Benard says he met writer Taheim Bryan and the two just clicked. “It’s a sad movie and a small role, and he sent me the script and I loved it. I’m very proud of it.” Benard calls it the screenwriter’s baby, explaining “he put like $100,000 on a credit card” to get it made because the story meant that much to him.
The star-studded cast includes Tobias Truvillion (former Vincent Jones, One Life to Live), Ice-T (Odafin Tutuola, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), and Hassan Johnson (Bobby Latimer, For Life). Benard added, “All of the acting was outstanding, and Tobias – the lead in the movie – was amazing!”
The actor says he feels the film is especially timely right now, as it deals with police brutality and racial undertones. The actor referenced the jogger who was shot in Georgia making headlines this spring.
Life Away From General Hospital
Both of these projects are available to read and watch while much of America sits in quarantine, but how has life on pause been for Benard? While his kids have been loving the time off playing games and watching TV, the actor hasn’t found it to be as easy.
“I feel stuck,” he admits. “It doesn’t matter where you live, it’s rough.”
“The problem here is I am the one that gets up real early and nobody gets up till late so I’m by myself the whole morning. So, what I do is I work out, I meditate, I watch TV.”
Still, it’s the fans that make everything worth it for him and he credits them with the success of his book, which came out right when the coronavirus pandemic hit. “The thing I love about my fans is they go along with me for the ride,” he says. “Not just GH. You know, even the book. They’re the ones who made it successful.