The most hotly-awaited General Hospital wedding since Luke tied the knot with Laura kicks off February 18 when mobster Sonny Corinthos — played by Maurice Benard — gets set to marry his dream girl Brenda Barrett. TV Guide Magazine spoke with the Emmy-winning actor to get his take on this sprawling and (literally!) explosive six-episode event.
TV Guide Magazine: So you're getting married again!
Benard: [Laughs] Yeah, man, I can't stop myself! Sonny never learns his lessons and that's what makes it fun. But lemme tell ya, this wedding is really gangbusters. Everybody in the cast was really into it, so into it that it actually seemed like a real wedding when we shot it. I'm so happy with it, and I think it'll do justice to all the Sonny-Brenda fans. [Laughs] Yeah, I'm into it, man!
TV Guide Magazine: What is it about these two ridiculously dysfunctional characters that so transfixes the audience?
Benard: Despite all their problems and their crazy history, there is a very real and deep love between Sonny and Brenda and the audience sees that. The fans want to believe that kind of love is still possible these days. We're talking about two really screwed up people who are both there for each other. They take care of each other in a way no one else can. Both are really fragile. Sonny tries to play tough and all that but underneath he is really just a scared little boy. They understand each other because they're both so damaged. I think a lot of that comes from how Vanessa and I feel about each other as people.
TV Guide Magazine: Can this marriage last, since no marriage in Port Charles ever does?
Benard: I think the fans want to believe it can last. But it's like the girl who always picks the wrong guy, thinking she'll be the one who can fix him and change him. [Laughs] Does that ever work out?
TV Guide Magazine: Huge threats hang over this ceremony. Carly is ready to blow the whistle on Brenda and Dante. The Balkan's out to kidnap Brenda. Sonny's been having bad premonition dreams. And we all know Brenda's wedding days never turn out OK. Why does this thing go forward?
Benard: Sonny believes he has so much security at the wedding that no one will get in who's not supposed to be there and, the truth is, no one does get in. Carly's secret does come out, but not quite in the way you expect because the secret is not quite the betrayal that Carly and the audience thinks it is. Sonny ends up really giving it to Carly. And because he's, well, Sonny, he doesn't like that something big was kept from him so he really has it out with Brenda, too. He doesn't let Dante have it... Well, just a tad but not much. As we all know, Sonny stood Brenda up at their last wedding. In fact, he's pulled a whole lotta BS on her over the years, which is why he goes easy on her this time. Usually, Sonny would be going, "To hell with this! I'm outta here." But he doesn't do that this time. I thought I might have some trouble making that work, but they wrote me this long monologue — it's like 4 or 5 pages — that says it all and works really well to explain where Sonny's coming from. But Carly is not forgiven... At least I'm not playing it that way. At the end of the day there's a bit of a truce but I hope we'll have some scenes in the future where Sonny and Carly can really go off on each other about how she tried to wreck the wedding.
TV Guide Magazine: The best part of GH is watching Sonny and Carly in their never-ending contest over who has bigger balls.
Benard: [Laughs] And I love that! That's usually such a guy-guy thing in soaps. Not with us!
TV Guide Magazine: Quite a while back, there seemed to be romantic sparks between Brenda and Dante — that's certainly the way Vanessa Marcil and Dominic Zamprogna played it. Do you think the writers will go for a triangle some day?
Benard: I agree with you about their connection. It could be interesting. At this moment, it's all about Sonny and Brenda but who knows what will happen down the line? It's funny you ask about this because the other day the three of us were shooting a scene and Vanessa was joking a little bit in rehearsal and touched Dominic's face in a kind of romantic way. And I'm standing there thinking, "What the hell?" It would be so weird if we went in that direction... But it would make good drama. And it's all about the drama!
TV Guide Magazine: It's hard to imagine Sonny and Brenda sitting around the house enjoying domestic bliss. That can't possibly work, can it?
Benard: [Laughs] Oh, no no no! I don't know how they'll write it but I just hope they keep it as real as possible — a real couple with real conflict. There's always going to be trouble between those two. But you know me. I get tired playing all this angst. It starts getting to me after a while. I want Sonny and Brenda to be happy for a little bit. I can see myself letting the hair go grey and weighing 250 pounds — that'll be me in two or three years! Remember in the old days on the soaps where they'd let a couple get married and be happy for a while? But that doesn't happen anymore. Damn!
TV Guide Magazine: So what's next for Sonny and Brenda? A baby?
Benard: Oh, no, I could never see that happening. Enough already! Sonny already has, like 20 kids in Port Charles. [Laughs] And those are just the ones he knows about!