GH’s Maurice Benard And Chad Duell Open Up About Their Tense Working RelationshipPublished on February 3, 2022.
Actors Maurice Benard and Chad Duell may play father and son on General Hospital (GH), but it took a long time before these two became friendly, let alone family!
During the January 31st episode of Benard’s State of Mind vlog, the two stars discussed a wide range of subjects – including the rift in their working relationship when Duell joined the cast in 2010.
Duell entered Port Charles as a recast after Drew Garrett, the original Michael, was fired. And in a revelation that GH fans might be stunned to learn, Benard was not happy with Duell.
“I’m very loyal when I like somebody,” Benard stated, “and they had an actor playing Michael who I thought was good, and we got close.”
“Then I come home on a Sunday, and my wife is on the phone with an exec producer [Jill Farren Phelps, at the time], and she said they fired [Garrett]. I said, ‘Whaaa?’ I was pissed.”
Benard admits that his mood hadn’t improved by the time Duell was on set. When Phelps approached Benard to discuss the casting change, “I said, ‘You’re the boss. It’s your show,’” he recalled. “At that time, I didn’t really believe that.”
“Then she goes, ‘You wanna meet the guy?’,” he continued, “and I say, ‘Not really, but if you want me to.’”
In Benard’s recollection, Duell handled the tense rapport with grace and proved himself as an actor.
“I gotta give Chad a lot of credit,” he stated, “because I wasn’t a good person. He had to go up and do some scenes in court… I don’t know how he did it, ‘cause I wasn’t nice, and I was right in front of him.”
“That’s the gangster in me… that isn’t cool. But at least as Maurice, I admit my faults, and I don’t like it,” he added. “Don’t try to defend what I did!”
“No, no… I’ll gladly throw you under the bus,” Duell responded with a smile.
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Duell doesn’t disagree that Benard gave off hostile vibes during his first few months on GH, but he had more pressing concerns – like sweating through all of his clothing!
“I was so nervous that I sweated through two shirts,” Duell recalls of his first day. “I almost vomited. I was having panic attacks.”
Duell had auditioned for the role of Kiefer, who was Kristina’s abusive boyfriend, but ended up getting the role of Michael – and the pressure was on. Duell entered in the midst of an important storyline, one he considers “baptism through fire”, as it involved the death of his character’s stepmother, Claudia.
“The head writer and the executive producer were literally in my eyeline with their arms crossed,” Duell recalled of his earliest scenes. “I knew everybody was just watching me, looking at me like, ‘Oh, this is the guy that got [Garrett] fired? We’ll see what he can do.”
Needless to say, Duell has proven what he can do ever since. His talent even converted his onscreen adoptive dad… eventually.
“You were killing it, and I hated it. It was actually a very good performance,” Benard said, remembering those courtroom scenes. “Then, we became like a real [father and] son… close.”
And to prove that closeness, Benard squeezed Duell to confirm his sudden split with The Young and the Restless star Courtney Hope in the same conversation. Nobody else had been able to do that!
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