Clive Robertson of NBC's "Sunset Beach"
November 3, 1997
6pm PT/9pm ET
Welcome to the NBC Live Studio at Yahoo! Chat. This evening we'll be chatting with Clive Robertson of NBC's "Sunset Beach."
Welcome, Clive. Glad that you are able to join us this evening.
Hi, thanks for joining me!
Clive has recently received the Soap Opera Digest Awards nomination for Outstanding Male Newcomer. The Awards will air on NBC on February 27, 1998.
Congratulations on your nomination! How does it feel?
I feel very honored to be nominated. I've only been in the country such a short time. I'm glad people appreciate my work.
How did you audition for "Sunset Beach"? Is there an interresting story behind it?
There is a long story to it, but I won't bore you with the long story, I'll give you the short story! I was over here last August for three weeks before I found myself in a meeting with a manager who, it just so happens, had been talking to one of the execs over at NBC. And from what I understand, they'd had trouble casting the role of Ben Evans, so he said to me, "You know, I think you might be right for this part." So he sent my tape over by courier, and I got asked for an interview.
Unfortunately, I decided in my infinite wisdom, to take a fishing trip to Mexico. So this manager was unable to contact me, and when I did arrive back in Los Angeles, after he finished screaming at me, I flew in my car down Sunset Blvd. to pick up the script, and then headed in the direction of Burbank, and ended up on my way to Santa Barbara. In the end, I made it! And the rest is history!
That's really an amazing story, Clive. How similar is your background to Ben Evans'?
Interesting, as I'm not sure what Ben Evans' background is. What I really mean, is that the audience doesn't know what his background is yet. But as an actor, I've invented one anyway, and therefore I'd say our backgrounds are pretty dissimilar, in that I think Ben Evans had to struggle from poverty, whereas I was more fortunate.
Ben is such a romantic...is this any indication how you are in real life?
Of course! But I'm not sure if my girlfriend would agree. :-)
How do you think you background in classical drama has prepared you for the part of Ben?
Well, my background in classical drama has helped me as an actor prepare for all sorts of roles. And I suppose I was able to apply the same training to tackling the part of Ben. But I should say, there is nothing that can prepare a theatre actor for daytime television. What I mean is, it's so hard. Everyday you tackle almost the amount of dialogue that you would in a theatre production. All I can say is, I'm grateful that I had a grounding before being plunged into the deep end!
Do you ever read the posts on the soap boards about yourself?
I was with Sam Behrens over at his house one afternoon, and I discovered he was on the internet. And together we managed to find out what was going on. I think that this was on Soap Opera Digest Online. But since then, although I've now got a computer, I'm a little apprehensive about wanting to read about myself. I find it painful just reading features I've done, when I know what they're going to say.
Congratulations on your award. Have you ever won an award for acting before?
No, but I was recently nominated for a Soap Opera Update Award, as Best Actor.
In an earlier chat I accidentally started a Rumor about a Dec. Wedding. How can Ben/Meg get married without Maria's body?
I either have to have her declared dead, or I suppose I could still divorce her.
What is the best thing you've found about America?
For starters, I like the idea of working everyday, which as an actor in Great Britain is a rarity. But more specifically, I really enjoy the sunshine, more than anything. Oh, and the palm trees.
Also, Americans in general are very friendly people. They're more likely to open their souls to you within the first few minutes of meeting them. Whereas we Brits still have this reserve, which gets in the way.
It must be interesting portraying a character with many sides, how do you prepare and bring Ben to life?
When I get presented with a script, the first thing I do is read it through, to see if the language fits my way of speaking. If it doesn't, I try and change it without really changing it. In other words, so that the producers won't notice. But more importantly, whatever's going on in a scene on the page, I always try and play something extra. As human beings, we say things and very often are thinking something very different. And I think that helps to bring any character to life.
What about "Sunset Beach" brings you the most fullfillment?
Working with a very talented cast and crew everyday, and having fun at the same time.
How do you feel about working for Aaron Spelling?
I'm delighted. Not that I see him very often, but when I first met him in my audition, it turned from being one of the most nerve-racking experiences into one of the most pleasurable, largely due to his sense of fun and ability to put me at my ease.
He asked me how long I'd been in the country, after I'd finished doing my piece, and when I told him three weeks, he started laughing. That helped calm me.
Congratulations on your nomination, Do you plan on doing any movies, or tv shows outside of "Sunset Beach"?
Talk to Aaron about it! I would love to do some things outside of "Sunset Beach" when I get a little bit more time, but as it is, the storyline I'm in is so heavy. I can't see that happening in the immediate future. But hopefully sometime this year. Thank you for your kind words.
Clive, good luck on the SOD nomination you have our votes - have you taken up the Texas Two Step - you made it look sooo easy?
Actually, I was a professional country dancer for many years. Just kidding! No, I haven't exactly taken it up, believe it or not. They made us rehearse for hours before shooting that little bit. Actually, at drama school, I did learn Latin American dance, which wasn't too dissimilar to country.
What was the location shooting like in Kansas?
So hot in that creme sweater that I thought my head was gonna explode at one point. But aside from that, it was great to be away from the studio in the middle of nowhere, even if it was just for a weekend.
It seems to me that you and Susan are becoming Ben and Meg. How long did it take for you to become comfortable with your characters,and portray them so well?
That's very kind of you to say that we portray them so well. I can't honestly put my finger on when I felt comfortable with who Ben was, but I did have in my head a fairly clear idea of where I wanted the character to go. And I've obviously had to modify that as the scripts have come in. But I still try and retain something of how I initially conceived the role.
Since you can sing do you think the writers will ever have Ben sing to Meg?
I'd be interested to know where you heard that! Yes, I can sing, but the last time I sang anything, I think it was an Elvis number, and I don't know how Susan would react to that. Unless of course it was "Love Me Tender." :-)
I hope you and Meg are really together now!!! How do you find your story by the way?
I like the story surrounding Ben, because we've got some exciting stuff coming up. Especially the end of December. I very much enjoy working with Susan because she's such a terrific actress, but I'm grateful that I have other things going on outside of that. Because without them, I think the character would be less interesting.
Were you surprised that Ben became the most popular character on "SB"?
Who are you? And how do you know this? In all seriousness, if that's the case, I'm very honored. I can only talk for myself, but I've tried always to make Ben as interesting as possible. And if the fans like him, then I'm grateful.
Clive, if you could be any other character on "SB," who would it be and why??
I suppose it would be quite fun to play Eddie Connors for a day, just for the hell of it!
But as a long term prospect, the idea of playing a psycho isn't that appealing.
What films influenced you as a child?
I was very influenced by the Alfred Hitchcock movies. I've always enjoyed suspense. My favorite is NORTH BY NORTHWEST.
My other favorite movie, and I think this is because I must have been a Roman in a former life, is BEN HUR. I have a fascination with anything Roman, and I don't quite fully understand where it comes from.
I know you have traveled a lot. What is your favorite place to go?
Well, probably my favorite, favorite would be East Africa, because I also, for some inexplicable reason, have always had a fascination for Africa, and I'm not quite sure where it comes from. My father used to go climbing in Kenya; Maybe he told me stories, but long before I went for myself, I always had this longing to go.
Clive, we have about 50 females (from all over the country) going to the SOD awards to see you, any chance we can meet you and the cast??
Well, I presented last year, and if I recall, we were not segregated in any way from the fans. So I will do my very best to say hello to each of you, if you make yourselves known.
How is the Daydream Tour so far? Meeting all your fans and everything...
Actually it starts this weekend in Tuscon, where I'll be making an appearence on Friday evening and over Saturday. I'm really looking forward to the whole event, it'll be a blast. Apparently, I've just been told, I'm slated to chat on Friday! So maybe I can answer some of the questions I didn't get to answer today.
Be sure to purchase the Soap Opera Digest November 11 issue! The issue is only on sale this week. Thank you for spending your time with us this evening.
Thanks for joining me! If I don't see you in Tuscon, maybe I'll be able to chat again on Friday.
Thank you for joining us this evening.