By Lorraine Zenka From Soap Opera Magazine May 5, 1998 SUN's Ben Evans is enduring a double dose of rage, frustration and fear these days. After being kidnapped and held captive by his evil twin, he's been forced to watch helplessly as Derek has taken over his life, moving into his home - and into Meg's arms. As Derek taunts him with images of Meg and wickedly measured words, Ben comes ever closer to giving up the passwords to his bank accounts. For his chillingly smooth transition between two visually identical but radically distinct characters, Clive Robertson is honored as Soap Opera Magazine's Star of the Week. From the first time Meg opened the door to a shadow-obscured Derek, Robertson's eerie transition from menacing presence to brooding charmer was stunning. Indeed, the actor has thrived in the dual roles, and his work to create two distinct personalities - even as Derek impersonates Ben - has been masterful. In his impersonation of brother Ben, Derek is pretty savvy in responding to those around him who know Ben well. "I let the audience see that he's thinking quickly," says Robertson. "You don't usually telegraph what a character is doing." As Derek learns more about people around Ben, he is becoming less guarded and is quick to cover a point, a development the actor appreciates. "It's a bit of a relief for me," admits Robertson. "His responses and speech pattern can be quicker now. He's becoming more like Ben." Robertson adds that "Derek is much easier to play than Ben," perhaps because there may be some freedom in insanity. "Ben is more controlled - he has an economy of movement about him. Derek doesn't," explains Robertson. To distinguish one twin from the other, Robertson has introduced a slight difference in their voices. "I've made Derek's a bit more posh. It's a bit more contrived because he's actually copying how he believes Ben speaks." Despite Ben's aristocratic air, the actor explains that he feels the brothers do not come from an affluent background. In Robertson's estimation, "Ben came to the States with nothing and struggled to achieve what he has." Derek, on the other hand, "is somehow under the impression that Ben has always been favored, and he's always come second. He feels he should have whatever Ben has just because they're twins. It's only fair in his mind." Lately, being Ben has been frustrating for character and actor alike. "He's never really let anyone get the best of him before," offers Robertson. "I'm really chained and gagged, and it's very annoying! In every one of Ben's scenes, I'm struggling for something or doing a voice-over while fighting my chains. It's difficult making that fresh every time." Derek, on the other hand, is thriving. He likes applying psychological torture and has used a hologram and will use a two-way mirror to let Ben see him with Meg. Although it's clear that Derek is a serial murderer and has homicidal thoughts about Meg, no one, not even the actor, is certain if Derek had anything to do with the disappearance and presumed death of Ben's wife, Maria. For the moment, Ben and his money are Derek's focus. "Derek keeps telling Ben that one day he'll be better than him," says Robertson. "It's all part of wearing him down." Speaking of which, how's Robertson holding up under the demands of his dual roles? "It's much harder than I expected," he admits. "But it's wonderful." From Soap Opera Digest June 24, 1997 Digest: Why do you think the two of you have become the breakout couple on the show? Susan Ward: Because he's a stud, that's why. Clive Robertson: Have we become a popular couple? Ward: I read that we had. It's amazing. Robertson: That is amazing and very wonderful. Digest: Yes, wonderful, but why? Robertson: The story started with Susan's character, so there's a lot of empathy with Meg. Ward: And Ben has so much mystery about him. I think that's so interesting to the audience, because they don't know the full you. Robertson: Plus, the whole Internet thing; I think that was very appealing. Digest: What attracts Ben to Meg and vice versa? Robertson: What attracted Ben first was her mind, presumably, because that's what he first met on the Internet. Ward: His honesty. Robertson: They have a mutual understanding about things. Digest: Why did Meg decide to seek out "S.B."? Ward: Meg was in the Midwest and felt no one understood her. She knew Tim wasn't "the one." When she found out on her wedding day that Tim was cheating on her, she knew this opportunity of Ben, or "S.B." as she knew him, was here [at Sunset Beach]. She took a chance and jumped at it. Robertson: Brilliant move. Ward: I thought so. Digest: What was going through your minds after Ben and Meg's first real kiss? Ward: It was the ultimate for Meg; it was what she always wanted. That's why she came to Sunset Beach. She had known he was "S.B.", so it was very exciting for her and the real thing. Robertson: And it was very real for Ben, as well, because this was the first girl he'd committed to since the death of his wife, Maria. Ward: But you haven't committed. Robertson: I committed to the kiss though, didn't I? Ward: Well, that you did. Very well may I add. Digest: What advice would you give to get Ben and Meg together in a normal relationship? Ward: Therapy. Robertson: I'd tell them to get on with it. Ward: He needs to get over Maria and get on with his life. Maria's been dead for four years, and he's going to be miserable for the rest of his life if he continues like this. Robertson: Yes, I'm too miserable. I need to lighten up a bit. Ward: That's what I'm here for. From Soap Opera Digest March 31, 1998 Since Sunset Beach's January 6, 1997 premiere, the show 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? Robertson: Actually, I didn't audition with Susan, so I didn't meet her until we came in for a costume fitting. They paraded us out on-set -- me, Susan and Sarah [Buxton, Annie]. And Sarah was wearing as thin lingerie as you can get. Ward: Luckily, I wore something more Meg-like. 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 standing there and smiling for the camera and feeling extremely awkward. I do remember Susan was going through the same thing. I'm sure we said hello, but that's about it. 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? Robertson: To be honest, they never really told us that. 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. Robertson: I was, as well. As far 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? Robertson: It was quite a slow start, as actors. She did things that surprised me. Ward: We had to get to know each other's style. 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. Robertson: We never had any funny arguments [laughs]. Ward: When you spend so much time together, there will always be disagreements. Robertson: I don't remember us having a fight, actually. Digest: How has your relationship changed in the past year? Robertson: We've definitely become more friendly, on- and off-set. Ward: I think we're definitely more comfortable with each other, and we've become closer in a lot of ways. Robertson: We used to keep to our-selves when we weren't actually doing a scene. In a way, it possibly helped. We didn't do it on purpose. 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? Robertson: When Susan's having a bad day, I steer well clear. I'm serious. 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. 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? 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. Ward: They were in a tournament, and Libby and I went to the spa and had a girls' day. We sipped tea and had a wonderful lunch on the golf course ... not their golf course, of course. We had a lot of fun. Robertson: That was Super Bowl Sunday, and then we all went out and watched the Super Bowl. We also had a great time at the Thanksgiving Day Parade together. I went to Thanksgiving dinner at Susan's. 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. Robertson: Then we went to this bar, and we stayed up to about 4 a.m. Ward: We had a great time. Digest: What's the funniest thing that's happened on the set during one of your scenes? 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. Ward: That was pretty funny. Robertson: Unsuspecting, actually. Ward: He had handed me a flower in one of the scenes, and I was just waving it around in-between scenes, and accidentally hit him in the face. That was really funny, and they have it on film. Robertson: It will be on my highlight reel [laughs]. Digest: Susan -- do you ever imitate the English accent? Ward: Oh, yeah. I don't do very well, but I like to think it's pretty funny. Robertson: She's pretty awful. Apparently Joe does, as well. 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. Robertson: She was a 10 out of 10. Ward: I definitely give him a 10. Robertson: No, I was a slow starter. Ward: But a strong finisher. A 10. Digest: Can we expect more dancing? Robertson: I don't know. I wouldn't mind doing some Latin American dancing. I actually learned that in drama school. Ward: I hope they'll put us in a big ball-room, and we'll do some ballroom dancing. That would be so much fun. Digest: Why do Ben and Meg love each other so much? Robertson: I think he offers her something fresh and innocent, and she's the antithesis of what he had with Maria. 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 pronounced together? Ward: Oh, yeah. Robertson: Usually it's "Ben and Meg" or "Men and Beg" or "Meg and Beg" [laughs]. Ward: I definitely do, but it's part of my life, so I've gotten used to it. Robertson: I'm not tired of it at all -- it's very nice. Ward: It is nice ... at times. Digest: Describe how you would script Ben and Meg's wedding. Robertson: Between you and me, we're pushing for a Venice wedding, there's no two ways about it. Ward: He's pushing for Venice; I'm definitely pushing for Bora Bora. 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. Ward: I would settle for Venice. A lavish wedding in a huge cathedral. Robertson: We want the real thing. Digest: Do Ben and Meg have a chance for happiness? Robertson: We live and hope.
Ben & Meg's Paradise Sunset Beach Stargazer Soap Opera News April 21, 1998 Native Englishman Clive Robertson lives in a cozy cottage high above the City of Angels. Clive Robertson and his girlfriend, Australian actress Libby Purvis, moved into their beautiful home high in the hills overlooking the Valley in Los Angeles the week shooting first began on Sunset Beach. "I have to admit when I came to L.A., I didn't know there were any hills!" the English actor exclaims, laughing to himself as he recalled how he hadn't expected Los Angeles to be so pretty. "So as soon as I discovered there were hills, I thought, 'Well, I have to live in the hills.' Robertson heads for the living room when it's time to study his Sunset Beach scripts. "When I first started, it took me forever," he groans We were doing those first two weeks down on location, he remembers, "We started looking for somewhere with a view. I just wanted something completely different from my flat in London. In London, pretty much everybody lives in flats - apartments, " he adds. "We were very lucky that we found this place. I love it." The house has just one bedroom and one bathroom, but the view goes on forever. "I didn't realize how pretty it would be," Robertson says. "I love it at night. It's the most divine view across the canyon from the breakfast nook. You get this dusk feeling that reminds me on North Africa. And during the day," he adds, "it looks like the south of France." The actor also confessess that he enjoys pulling out the binoculars for an occasional scan of his surroundings. "I have neighbors, but they're too far away to spy on. Of course I try!" he jokes. Actually, he usually uses the binoculars for true nature watching. "There are these California redtailed hawks that fly around," he says. "They live on the hillside jsut above us. They fly down and swoop down through the canyon and hover above us. They're massive. The bright and airy kitchen overlooks the breakfast nook - and the hills beyond. And the billiard room is an added bonus. "In England, a lot of pubs have pool tables," Robertson notes. "I play both pool and snooker, which is the 'toffee-nosed' English version." Robertson "helps" girlfriend Libby Purvis work in their airy kitchen. The house also has a patio - perfect for barbecuing - and a pool. "It's nice to dive into because its gets very hot when the sun is beating down on the patio, " says the actor. But when it's cool, there's a slight problem. "The pool isn't heated," Robertson sighs with a shiver. "And I hate swimming when it's cold." Robertson and Purvis met five years ago when they were both studying drama at Arts Ed. in London. But, he confesses, the two did not begin dating immediately. "I don't think she liked me very much at first!" he says with a grin. Now, the couple are happily sharing their gorgeous home high above L.A. with a view worthy of Robertson's television alter-ego, Ben Evans. by Jeffrey Epstein Photography by John Paschal/JPI