Fans of General Hospital have been taken on a wild ride since Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) lost his memory and embarked on a new life in Nixon Falls as "Mike." Having no recollection of his life in Port Charles or his relationship with Carly (Laura Wright), the character has since started to fall in love with Nina (Cynthia Watros). Meanwhile, believing Sonny to be dead, Carly has done all she can to keep the Corinthos clan's firm stake within the Five Families -- including staging a united front by getting engaged to and planning to marry Jason Morgan (Steve Burton).
The storyline has definitely sparked a lot of viewer opinions, which Benard and Wright delved into during the latter's September 12 appearance on Benard's State of Mind video podcast. Wright opines that the "Mike" storyline has split viewers, but Benard has a totally different opinion, joking, "It's not split! Don't even try to say it's split! That's ridiculous. If anything, it's maybe 90/10 now."
Of course, there is the possibility that perhaps the viewers who aren't digging the "Mike" storyline wouldn't be feeling so negative about it had the story been a little shorter. At least, that's Benard's take on it.
"I think maybe what happened was this shouldn't have been this long," the actor says, adding that a lot of factors play into the length of a story, and this time it was a scheduling conflict. "I was supposed to be doing a movie, and now I'm doing it at the end of the year."
Wright is quick to point out that things like that happen a lot in storytelling. "I don't think people realize that," she says. "When you are dealing with a cast of 30 actors, some being on contract, some not, who also get to audition for other things, sometimes storylines do either end quick and you go, 'What just happened?' or they get stretched out longer because of scheduling behind the scenes."
Length of the story aside, both actors agree that Sonny's amnesia storyline was the perfect way to add some drama to the relationship between Sonny and Carly. After all, the couple has been through so much together already -- from the death of their son Morgan (Bryan Craig) to the death of Sonny's father, Mike (Max Gail) -- that it couldn't be just anything that broke them apart.
"You had to do something [big] -- you can't break Sonny and Carly up in the old traditional way," Wright explains. "Carly and Sonny have been through so much and they are so solid, or they were so solid in their relationship, that for them to split up in a way that was just silly really would take away from the relationship."
The stakes are super high now, and the pair enthuse that when Sonny does remember that he's Sonny and finally returns to Port Charles, it's going to be well worth the months-long wait.
"It's going to be incredible," Wright says of the twists and turns ahead. "It's going to blow your mind."
That being said, Benard isn't super thrilled to be leaving Mike behind because he has really enjoyed "playing this relaxed, fun thing" -- which is totally opposite from his experience playing his usual Port Charles alter ego. "I don't like Sonny," the actor candidly reveals. "I don't like his energy. I don't like his darkness."
Fortunately, as Wright theorizes, Sonny might have a softer side now that he's lived another man's life.
"When Sonny does come back... he's always going to have a part of Mike with him. Mike's experiences then become Sonny's," she says. "So, that's an interesting journey for the character of Sonny, to be like, now, with every decision he makes, he's like, 'I know a different world. Things aren't so black and white."
Benard agrees that it would be interesting to see a Sonny/Mike hybrid, but he says that it would be less up to him and more up to the writers to make that happen. "I think it's just too difficult for an actor to just bring that if it's not kind of on the page," he shares.
While Benard doesn't reveal whether or not the writers have something like that planned, he wraps up the GH portion of the pair's State of Mind chat with a delicious tease about what he does know is ahead: "Once Sonny comes back, all hell is gonna break loose."
For Benard's full conversation with Wright, which also includes an honest discussion about the actress' divorce and other tough challenges that she has faced, check out the clip below. And don't forget to let us know what you think in the Comments section at the end of the article.
What do you think about Benard's State of Mind episode with Laura Wright? How do you feel about the way the writers have handled Sonny's amnesia storyline? How would you like to see the story progress in the weeks ahead? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.