(Soaps In Depth June 10, 1997)
You say tomato, I say to-mah-to...
SUN's casting director felt that
Clive Robertson's colorful British
accent would lend texture to SUN's canvas.
Without a doubt, Clive Robertson's alter ego, Ben Evans, is the silent type with a capital "S."
However, surprisingly enough, it was Robertson's thick British accent that turned the heads of
SUN's producers. "Originally, we didn't conceive Ben as a foreigner, but during casting, we
definitely opened up that possibility," recalls the show's casting director, Melinda Gartzman. She
explains that all of the show's characters were meant to be Sunset Beach townies. When they mulled
over the character of Ben, though, they reconsidered. "We thought that this person could have come
from anywhere at all," Gartzman says. Enter English actor Clive Robertson. "I think that the
character of Ben lends itself to being a man from another country," Robertson notes. "Immediately, it
gives him another angle to play off of, and that adds to mystery." Gartzman explains, "Audiences
love British accents. This accent has been very successful in all genres -- film, TV, and theater."
Robertson couldn't agree more. "I think that the average American finds anything outside of this
country to be more interesting. I think that the accent adds to the intrigue, and it gives Ben a
Sunset Beach's Break Out Couple
(Soap Opera Digest May 6, 1997)
Meg and Ben
Relationship Milestone: Their first real kiss.
The Scene: As part of their investigation into Del's murder, Meg and Ben faked a relationship.
Neither admitted that they really had feelings for each other. After the Surf Central party, Ben asked
Meg to dance on his balcony. The couple swayed in each other's arms. "I can't remember the last
time I wanted to do anything as much as I want to do this," Ben murmured, planting a long,
passionate kiss on Meg.
Stumbling Blocks: Annie and Tim have joined forces to keep Ben and Meg apart. The memory of
Ben's late wife, Maria, also poses a threat. He keeps a painting of the dead woman in his living
room -- how can Meg compete with that?
Current Status: Despite the fact that they're cyber soul mates, Ben is afraid of jumping into a serious
The Odds: Very promising. If Mr. Evans gets over his haunting past, Ben and Meg could end up
being the supercouple of the BEACH.
MARCH 31 1998 SOAP OPERA DIGEST
Since Sunset Beach's January 6, 1997 premiere, the has used technology, temptation, and terror to further the romance of their top couple, Meg (Susan Ward) and Ben (Clive Robertson). As the characters look forward to their wedding this spring, the actors look back at what made the pairing work.
DIGEST: Do you remember first meeting each other and reading for the roles? What were your first impressions?
Clive ROBERTSON: Actually, I didn't audition with Susan, so I didn't meet her until we came in for costume fitting. They paraded us out on-set ~~ me, Susan, and Sarah (Annie). And Sarah was wearing as thin lingerie as you can get.
Susan WARD: Luckily, I wore something more Meg-like.
Clive ROBERTSON: Yes, I remember. They plunked me in the middle, and I didn't know who was who. I didn't know what was going on. I just remember Susan was going through the same thing. I'm sure we said hello, but thats about it.
Susan WARD: I didn't know who he was either. I had no idea that he'd be my love interest because I didn't know anything about my storyline.
DIGEST: What were your thoughts when you learned that Ben and Meg would be the show's first big romance?
Clive ROBERTSON: To be honest, they never really told us.
Susan WARD: It was at a table reading when I first realized that he would be my love interest. I was excited. He's a great guy, he was always really nice to me and I was just very excited.
Clive ROBERTSON: I was as well. As for as the "supercouple" goes, it just so happens that our chemistry on-screen worked, and then they started writing for us. If we never showed any chemistry, then I don't think they would have ended up writing in this way.
DIGEST: Were you able to establish an immediate rapport as actors?
Clive ROBERTSON: It was quite a slow start, as actors. She did things that surprised me.
Susan WARD: We had to get to know each other's style.
Clive ROBERTSON: She has that lovely innocence about her on-camera, which really came across. I wasn't expecting it, and I suppose I just sort of responded to it. I give her a lot of credit for it.
DIGEST: You spend so much time together, so there must be funny little squabbles?
Clive ROBERTSON: We never have any funny arguments. [laughs]
Susan WARD: When you spend so much time together, there will always be disagreements.
Clive ROBERTSON: I don't remember us having a fight, actually.
DIGEST: How has your relationship changed in the past year?
Clive ROBERTSON: We've definitely become more friendly, on- and off-set.
Susan WARD: I think we're definitely more comfortable with each other, and we've become closer in a lot of ways.
Clive ROBERTSON: We used to keep to ourselves when we weren't actually doing a scene. In a way, it possibly helped. We didn't do it on purpose.
Susan WARD: We definitely have a better relationship than we did in the beginning because we just got to know each other and learned each other's boundaries and limitations.
DIGEST: What happens when one of you is having a bad day?
Clive ROBERTSON: When Susan's having a bad day, I steer well clear. I'm serious.
Susan WARD: Same with Clive. I usually don't say anything, and I just give him his space. The worst thing is being hounded by everyone. I know when I'm in a bad mood; I just like to be left alone.
Clive ROBERTSON: Yes. These days, actually -- this is how friendly we've gotten -- she tells me when she's having a bad day. I noticed recently, when she's having a bad day, we can actually have quite a lot of fun with that.
DIGEST: Some soap couples find it easier to stay away from each other off the set, while others are the best of friends. How about you two?
Clive ROBERTSON: We went to Ohio, Joe [Susan's boyfriend] and I went to play golf, while [Clive's girlfriend] Libby and Susan went to the local inn.
Susan WARD: They were in a tournament, and Libby and I went to the spa and had a girls' day. We sipped tea and hada wonderful lunch on the golf course... not their golf course, of course. We had a lot of fun.
Clive ROBERTSON: That was Super Bowl Sunday, and then we all went out and watch the Super Bowl. We also had a great time at the Thanksgiving Day Parade together. I went to Thanksgiving dinner at Susan's.
Susan WARD: I lived in New York for a long time, and my old roommate still lived there in our old apartment, so we invited Libby and Clive. We had a big, huge dinner of lamb and wine and all kinds of goodies.
Clive ROBERTSON: Then we went to this bar, and we stayed up to about 4am.
Susan WARD: We had a great time.
DIGEST: What's the funniest thing that's happened on the during one of your scenes?
Clive ROBERTSON: She hit me with a flower once, by accident, when we were on location in Kansas. She was playing around with it, swishing it back and forth, and she caught me on the nose.
Susan WARD: That was pretty funny.
Clive ROBERTSON: Unsuspecting, actually.
Susan WARD: He had handed me a flower in one of the scenes, and I was just waiving it around in-between scenes, and accidentally hit him in the face. That was really funny, and they have it on film.
Clive ROBERTSON: It will be on my high-light reel. [laughs]
DIGEST: Susan -- do you ever imitate the English accent?
Susan WARD: Oh yeah. I don't do very well, but I like to think it's pretty funny.
Clive ROBERTSON: She's pretty awful. Apparently, Joe does, as well.
Susan WARD: When Joe reads with me, he always tries to do Clive's accent, and it's so hilarious that I can't even concentrate.
DIGEST: The line dancing in Kansas was quite a hit with the fans. Rate each other's performance.
Clive ROBERTSON: She was a 10 out of a 10.
Susan WARD: I definitely give him a 10.
Clive ROBERTSON: No, I was a slow starter.
SusanWARD: But a strong finisher. A 10.
DIGEST: Can we expect more dancing?
Clive ROBERTSON: I don't know. I would mind doing some Latin American dancing. I actually learned that in drama school.
Susan WARD: I hope they'll put us in a big ballroom, and we'll do some ballroom dancing. That would be so much fun.
DIGEST: Why do Ben and Meg love each other so much?
Clive ROBERTSON: I think he offers her something fresh and innocent, and she's antithesis of what he had with Maria.
Susan WARD: Ben's sincere, and he treats her like an incredible woman. She feels incredible around him: She feels loved, cherished and respected.
DIGEST: Do you ever get sick of hearing the names Ben and Meg pronounce together?
Susan WARD: Oh yeah.
Clive ROBERTSON: Usually it's "Ben and Meg" or "Men and Beg" or "Meg and Beg" [laughs].
Susan WARD: I definitely do, but it's part of my life, so I've gotten use to it.
Clive ROBERTSON: I'm not tired of it at all -- it's very nice.
Susan WARD: It's nice...at times.
DIGEST: Describe how you would script Ben and Meg's wedding.
Clive ROBERTSON: Between you and me, we're pushing for a Venice wedding, there's no two ways about it.
Susan WARD: He's pushing for Venice; I'm definitely pushing for Bora Bora.
Clive ROBERTSON: Whenever they mention the wedding, I'm like, a wedding in Venice would be nice. We stress Venice a lot because I'm not settling for any of this gondola stuff in Venice, California. We want the real thing.
Susan WARD: I would settle for Venice. A lavish wedding in a huge cathedral.
Clive ROBERTSON: We want the real thing.
DIGEST: Do Ben and Meg have a chance for happiness?
Clive ROBERTSON: We live and hope.