General Hospital’s Maurice Benard is well-known in the industry for mentoring his young co-stars such as Steve Burton, Michael Sutton, and Vanessa Marcil. His latest protege, on-screen and off, is Evan Hofer. The two co-stars talked about building confidence as an actor and the emotional blocks that get in the way on the current episode of Benard’s video podcast, State Of Mind.
Maurice Benard And Evan Hofer: Breaking Down The Barriers
Benard (Sonny Corinthos) welcomed one of Port Charles’s newest residents and General Hospital’s latest cast addition, Evan Hofer (Dex Heller), to State Of Mind by asking him how the role came about. “Let’s first talk about how you got the job at General Hospital.”
“I had auditioned for a couple of parts on GH, one a few months before this one,” answered Hofer. He described how his casting experience was a little different. “Because of the pandemic, everybody has been doing things over tape. So I just sent one over to Mark [Teschner] and got the call a few days later. That was it. Straight off the tape and straight to you.
“I have been so grateful that all my early stuff has been with you,” the young actor explained. “One, because you showed me the format, and you are such a pro at that format — such a veteran of it. But you have also told me that it is okay to be myself and bring that into it. That I don’t have to just fit into the style but do my own thing within that. And just being able to do everything with you has been incredible.”
But outward appearances can be tricky for young actors learning the business. “I never wanted to come across as overconfident or cocky, so I feel like I have always leaned the other way. Then I think I end up cutting myself down too much or undercutting myself as like a defense mechanism so that other people can’t. I’m like, ‘I have already beat you to it.'”
Getting Past Bad Reviews
Benard told a great story about Sharon Stone struggling in an acting class with the late great acting coach Roy London. Every week she came in and did a scene from Speed the Plow until one week, she finally came in and nailed it. London exclaimed, ‘You are brilliant, Sharon.’ And she said, ‘Why?’ and he said, ‘Because now you know you are enough.’
Hofer nodded in understanding. “I am trying to get better about letting myself be proud of myself, enjoying opportunities, and enjoying things. Allowing yourself to enjoy stuff is great,” he shared. “It’s hard for people. A lot of acting coaches will be abrasive and could be attacking, and for my personality, that makes me get smaller, which makes me even further from where I am trying to be.”
The actors both have worked with actress Frances Fisher (who got her start as Deborah Saxon on The Edge of Night). Benard played opposite Fisher as Desi to her Lucy in Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter and Hofer in his first dramatic role in a film called Run the Race.
Hofer described his experience working with the talented redhead. “She was so fantastic and just elevates everyone she’s with. Everyone in that movie was good, but then you see them in scenes next to her, and they are just [raises hands up in an elevated place] even better. She makes everyone better, and, I always say, that is the kind of actor I want to be, a generous performer that makes everyone better. It’s not an easy skill.”
Evan Hofer: Struggling with Anxiety
The second year of the pandemic arrived with Hofer feeling depressed and full of anxiety. “I never really knew because I have never been diagnosed with in that way, but I had heard that people have panic attacks. I have had a few times in my life, going back to when I was an early teen, of what I thought was just getting stressed out, but my body would violently shake. After a few minutes, it would cool off. And I would think, ‘That was weird,’ but never thought anything of it.”
It was talking to Benard on the set that finally gave shape to what he had been feeling. “Now, after talking to you about it, I realized that it was a panic attack. I just didn’t know what to define it as. It is weird to feel out of control of your body in that way. For me, it felt like I was shivering. I thought, ‘Should I get a blanket?’ then you realize that is not the problem. It’s in here [points to his head].”
Med Zoom calls with a therapist helped get him through the pandemic. “My thing is, therapy is awesome. I am always an advocate for therapy,” Hofer explained, “but as long as you have somebody that you can be open with and talk with, even if they are not offering advice but acting as a sounding board. I am an advocate of you have got to get the poison out. You are probably going to say things you don’t mean, but just getting it out of your body can help 50% of the time.”
Opening Up About His Past
Hofer talked about his early years, being bullied for being small, and, later, his nerdy phase. His parents got him into martial arts, which helped shape him physically and mentally for the future. The actor talked about his goofy side and how he loves to be surprised to the point he planned his own surprise party. He revealed that he is dying to be a rom-com star, loves working on the soap, and enjoys the cast.
Both actors teased more intrigue from Sonny and Dex on General Hospital. Watch the full episode here. Follow Evan Hofer on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, or State of Mind.
General Hospital (G.H.) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on G.H. spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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Evan talks to me about getting the role on @GeneralHospital and his absolute love of surprises. We bond about anxiety, managing your expectations and staying in the moment.
— Maurice Benard (@MauriceBenard) August 7, 2022
— Cynthia Watros (@watroswatros) August 4, 2022