• Rising Star

    Source: TV Guide
    Date: August 4, 2001

    Born in 1986, Ben boasts one of the most convoluted family trees in Springfield. Though he was the biological child of Maeve and Kyle Sampson (half-brother of Billy Lewis), Maeve was so angry with her husband’s lingering feelings for ex-love, Reva, that she gave birth to Ben in secret, then told Kyle the baby had died. In her attempt to hide him, Maeve passed Ben off from one pair of hands to the next. Until he ended up in Kyle’s lap. Kyle decided to adopt little Ben for himself and Reva. Maeve, understandably, was not thrilled with the development. She burst into Kyle and Reva’s wedding and told all. Reva and Kyle didn’t marry, and Kyle eventually left town. Maeve married Fletcher Reade, who became the only father Ben ever knew, especially when Maeve was killed in a helicopter crash. When Ben was in his teens, Fletcher moved in with Alexandra Spaulding then married Holly, mother of Ben’s half-sister, Meg. In 2001, Ben returned to Springfield a wealthy college boy determined to deflower Marah Lewis and win a rather juvenile bet. That didn’t go so well after Ben fell in love with Marah and confessed his intentions. Marah did not see the joke. Currently, Ben has fallen for Marina Cooper — who happens to still be in high school. And has a cop daddy who’s really, really against the relationship. In a single year, actor Matthew Bomer has gone from playing Ben the creep to Ben the romantic. We sat down with him to ask: Would the real Ben Reade please stand up?

    SoapCityAlina: So, we’ve seen Bad Ben and Good Ben. Which Ben is more real?

    Matthew Bomer: Both Bens are real. People change. Of course, in real-life people tend to change a lot slower than they do on a soap opera, but as an actor you can’t think about it like that. You have to think about why they change. And a lot of the reasons for people making the changes that they do is because of people who come into their lives, who make them see things differently. Or maybe it’s people who call them out on their issues and make them kind of realize what’s going on with themselves. Hopefully, Ben will always have a feisty element to him. But when it comes down to it, no one wants to be alone and completely ousted so I think that’s something that Ben is kind of realizing.

    SCA: Ben’s fallen for Marina. What does this college boy see in a high school girl?

    MB: I think Ben sees in her something how out on a limb she is, how fun she is, how bold she is, the risks she takes. That element of danger is definitely attractive to him. Also, the fact that Ben has had this thing for Marah and has been really trying to reach out to her, but all those efforts have been in vain. So, to have someone so blatantly attracted to him is a nice refreshing difference. I think there is something about the game between them that they play that he really enjoys. “I like you but I’m going to act like I don’t at all.” There is something about that game that is kind of fun for them to play together.

    SCA: And the age difference….

    MB: Marina and Ben don’t have a horrifying age difference. He’s 21. It’s not like a Lolita situation. They are both young and Ben is very immature for his age. They danger of it comes along with the danger of getting in trouble with her parents and there are cops in her family. The good element of it is that when we are together and things are going well, how do you just forget about it? But I think this whole living situation now and all the stuff that’s going on and the fact that Michelle is single provides a lot of opportunities for some really good and interesting stuff to happen. I really hope the writers capitalize on that.

    SCA: Speaking of Michelle — growing up, Ben had quite a crush on his pal. Does he still?

    MB: I have a great time working with Nancy (St. Alban; Michelle). It’s interesting. There was the whole issue of Ben always liking Michelle when he was a little kid and Michelle liking Bill. If that whole thing could be recreated it could definitely be some good soap.

    SCA: Young Ben also had a close relationship with Alexandra Spaulding. She was kind of his stepmother for a while, and definitely a pal. Are we going to see some of that?

    MB: On Joan’s second day here, when we were doing the Tower’s opening, we were in the scenes together and we started out one scene improvising together because they wanted to catch us together as though we were catching up on old times — it wasn’t anything scripted. So, while we were improvising, I caught Joan up with everything and my relationship to Alex as far as I knew. We talked about that and (on-camera) she was asking me about how school was and I was said, “Good. How has your life been? How’s Europe?” When Ed (Peter Simon) came back and I had to ad-lib some lines with him, I asked, “How’s Africa?” Ask about the continents — it’s a safe bet. But, anyway, Joan was great, just an extremely classy woman and elegant. It was an honor to be working with her. She was very cool.