Ben Masters and Tracey Ross

April 11, 2000

Actors Ben Masters and Tracey Ross discuss in an online interview, the ins and outs of their hit soap opera, "Passions".

NBC-Live: Welcome to #NBC-Live! Our guests for the evening are Ben Masters and Tracey Ross, stars of the NBC daytime drama, "Passions." Ben Masters plays Julian Crane, the rich, powerful and arrogant son of "Passions" patriarch Alistair Crane. Tracey Ross plays Dr. Eve Russell, the beautiful and compassionate town doctor, who is the wife of T.C. and mother of Whitney and Simone. Eve harbors some dark secrets in her past which could threaten her whole family. Welcome, Ben and Tracey!

Ben Masters: Welcome everyone. I'm really happy to be here to bother you people tonight.

Tracey Ross: Ditto!

Passionsfan56: Has it been fun taping the flashback scenes of Julian and Eve's past?

Ben Masters: That's complicated. It seems like it would be fun, especially with someone as beautiful as Tracey Ross. But it's more complicated than fun.

Tracey Ross: It's kind of fun in retrospect when you look back, but when you are actually there it is kind of complicated and technical. And uncomfortable even.

Ben Masters: And she kept trying to get my clothes off.

Tracey Ross: And he wouldn't let me!

Miguellovr: Do you like dressing up in the '70s clothes for the flashbacks or do you feel weird having to wear those clothes again?

Tracey Ross: I feel weird having to wear those clothes that I've seen in magazines and heard about, being far too young to actually remember them!

Ben Masters: I don't mind because I don't look any more foolish wearing those clothes than I do wearing the other stuff that I wear.

Britian3: What have been each of your favorite scenes to tape so far?

Ben Masters: My favorite was when Tabitha put me in the microwave.

Tracey Ross: I guess my favorite was when we were taping the scene when Charity was seeing the visions in the mirror because Ben had so many cracks and jokes that it was fun. He kept talking about pulling Charity through the mirror to the other side in that way that he has.

Xena867: How would you describe each of your characters in three words?

Ben Masters: I would say selfish, heartless and a farm hand.

Tracey Ross: A contradiction inside an enigma.

Nomo: If you could play any other characters on the show, who would you like to play?

Tracey Ross: I would play Sheridan because she has the best wardrobe and she goes to Paris . She has all the glamour stuff. I would be Sheridan in a heartbeat! And Luis is not a bad consolation prize either!

Ben Masters: T.C. Russell, because he gets to sleep with Eve all the time.

Passionsrules: What would you like to see happen to your characters in the present?

Ben Masters: I would like to see Julian morphed into Miguel so that Julian could reek havoc on all of the young women in Harmony.

Tracey Ross: I would like Julian to divorce Ivy and marry Eve so she could be the lady of the Crane manor and go around giving orders and hanging out with Julian. We would be such a happy couple.

Verona : Do people confuse you in real life with the characters you play?

Tracey Ross: I don't get that people confuse me. But they all ask me the same question, and that is if Chad is my son.

Ben Masters: There is no difference between me and the character that I play.

Dawnna: What is the funniest story that you could share with us about something that happened on the set?

Ben Masters: Not really a funny story, but funny things happen that have to do with the show itself. I'm constantly cracking up with Josh, who plays Timmy. I watched him walk down the hall toward the sound stage in heavy makeup and earrings and eyelashes extended, with pop beads and his hair done. He looked like a little girl. I said to him, "You've been in Hollywood too long, boy!" It's just funny that the show is so weird. Funny things happen a lot.

Tracey Ross: Most of the funny stuff that happens, happens because of what Ben says, so we hold our breaths to listen for what the next remark or witticism that will come out of Ben. I remember the first day that I met Ben, he looked at Josh and he just kind of stared at Josh while Josh was talking. Then he looked up and said, "I'm going to have some really weird dreams tonight." He said it with a straight face, and I've never forgotten it!

Homebody: What is a typical day on the set like for you?

Ben Masters: You arrive around 6:30AM , rehearse, have makeup put on, and

Start Shooting At 8: 30AM . Perhaps you finish by early afternoon or perhaps you work until late in the evening. Because I am one of the few who come to work knowing my lines. Now, some of the other actors spend their time trying to learn lines, and looking very frightened. Not the lovely Eve Russell, though!

Tracey Ross: Ben pretty much summed it up. It's a pretty repetitive day as far as a standard day.

Sheeza: Isn't it challenging memorizing all of those lines? Do you do a lot of takes or do you have any tips for memorizing?

Tracey Ross: Yes, it is challenging, memorizing all of those lines. You want to do as few takes as possible, so consequently you don't want to mess up. The fear of messing up is usually my motivating factor.

Ben Masters: We usually get the scripts 4 to 5 days in advance and I personally start working on them when I get them, so by the time the day comes where I have to shoot them it's not a cramming of the words into my head that day. It's a more natural thing that I try to do. It's hard work. You just have to take time and do it. We don't have teleprompters or cue cards. Some of those other soaps do.

Danielle: You are both wonderful actors. What advice do you have for people just getting into the business?

Ben Masters: I would say you should try to build a foundation of work of training and get some experience. Don't just think you can come to a place like Los Angeles and walk into some office and get a job.

Tracey Ross: I think you should ask yourself if you pursued this and never worked, would you still want to do it?

Samantha Lynn: What are your hobbies/interests? Do you watch yourselves on TV and keep up with the show?

Ben Masters: I personally like to play golf. I like wine. I like playing on the Internet. Yes, I tape the shows and I watch them so I can see if I've finally gone too far and I like to watch the stories because I have no other life.

Tracey Ross: I am a devoted "Passions" fan, like any other, when it comes to watching the show. I like to read. And I like logic puzzles. And I, too, don't have much of a life outside of "Passions" and my son. That's pretty much it.

Ben Masters: I've tried to add things to Tracey's life, but she won't let me add them!

Samantha Lynn: Ben, I saw you on an episode of "Touched by an Angel." I just wanted to say you did a great job on that show! Besides "Passions," "Touched by an Angel" is one of my other favorite shows. Did you like working with the "Touched by an Angel" cast?

Ben Masters: Thank you for the compliment. Yes, I liked working with them very much. I worked with Priscilla Presley, the actress who was married to Elvis Presley, and the other regulars. It was a really nice experience and they pay a lot of money. But it was in Salt Lake City , and they don't drink. You have to join a club to have a beer.

Samantha Lynn: Do any of you play practical jokes on each other on the set?

Ben Masters: I once dropped a 50-pound sand bag on Mollie's head and she had to go to the hospital, but that wasn't that funny, I suppose. Just joking!

Tracey Ross: Practical jokes require too much advance planning for me. I can't think that far ahead.

Girldisciple: What is your favorite movie?

Tracey Ross: "Gone With The Wind."

Ben Masters: An odd little movie called "Withnail and I," a British movie.

AbbyCrab: Hello! "Passions" is the best show in the world! How can I write to you guys?

Tracey Ross: "Passions," c/o CBS Radford Studios, 4024 Radford Avenue , Studio City , CA 91604

KMCG8R: Hey, Ben and Tracey - it's me, KMCG8R (Kristen) from the Discussion Board! You both know that I love you guys and "Passions" so much, so I won't even go into that now. My question for you both is, do either of you have any secret talents or interests that we don't know of?

Ben Masters: Why don't you come over to my house and I'll show you, you little vixen!

Tracey Ross: I just discovered I can sing a little.

Evilgal: If you could change any one aspect about your character, what would it be?

Ben Masters: I would like to be 21. Can you imagine what it's like being around these women on this set?

Tracey Ross: I guess I'd make Eve a better mother, more attentive.

Evilgal: What did you do before you got into acting?

Ben Masters: I got into acting when I was in high school, so whatever kids do before. But in high school I started being in plays.

Tracey Ross: I've never wanted to be anything but an actress. I did model for several years, trying to use it as a segue into acting.

SarahMchls: Hi, Ben! Prince of Power, Prince of Charms, or Prince of Temptation , which one are you really?

Ben Masters: Oh, you leave me speechless! None of those.

Bryray: How much time are you allowed to go over your lines before you have to deliver them in front of the screen?

Ben Masters: Other than working on them by yourself, we get a dry rehearsal with the other actors in the scene. Then we camera-block it and then we usually shoot it, so probably three times before you are in front of the camera. But we go off on our own with the other people in the scene and try to make sure we know the lines together.

Crysan125: Where do you tape "Passions"? Is it possible to sit in on the taping?

Tracey Ross: We tape it at CBS Radford Studios, and it's a closed set.

KMCG8R: Are you guys excited about your upcoming trip to New York City ? Ben, I'll be your roommate for the few nights! I'm thinking of driving up from Florida ! Do you know what, if anything, is planned while you guys are there?

Tracey Ross: There is a lot of activities going on in New York and they are all posted on website. There is a fan event at Blondie's on Thursday, May 18th.

Ben Masters: I'm not going to the Emmys because I am afraid to fly.

Tracey Ross: Ben is going. We are all going to talk to him and he is going to go!

Doctorshot: Ben, I saw you on stage in New York in "Key Exchange." You were terrific. How does working on the soap compare to the stage?

Ben Masters: Thank you. I loved doing that play. It was a real high point in my life. This is harder than working on the stage. It's more work, work that has to be done faster. You have to make instant choices and a lot of them are real garbage. But a few work. It's harder.

KimberleeS: Who is your best friend from the show?

Tracey Ross: I couldn't pick one. I could narrow it down to 6 or 7. I think it is the people that you get to work with the most, so in my case it is Dana, Rodney, Kim, Ben, who I adore.

Ben Masters: My best friend from the show is Dana Waters, the girl who played Suzanne, the French maid.

Nellygirl87: I love passions I started watching it during the summer and I got all my friends watching it now. Is there going to be another carnival during the summer like last year? That was a good place for part of the show to take place.

Ben Masters: We don't know. Not so far in the storyline that I've seen. We are only about a month ahead of the audience. But yet it would be fun.

Lil-angel83: I would like to know if you can tell the rest of the cast of "Passions" that I wish them the best of luck and I wish you, Ben and Tracey, the best of luck, too.

Tracey Ross: Yes, we'd be happy to tell them. Thank you!

Ben Masters: Thank you from me, too. That's very sweet.

Ahutch1972: Ben, I love your comic scenes, like with the ex-maid Suzanne. Do you have a background in comedy?

Ben Masters: Yes. Not really a background in comedy, but I've done a number of plays that were supposed to be funny. Sometimes they were.

Joannew11: Do you find your "Passions" fans to be of different ages or mostly young people?

Tracey Ross: I'd say mostly young people that I've seen. The ones who come up to me are usually young and the ones who recognize you right away seem to be young.

Ben Masters: There was a softball game between "Passions" and "Days of our Lives" (which "Passions" won, by the way) and the majority of the fans who showed up, around 1,000 people, were young, but not like real young. They were teenage, some above teenage. The ones who had all the energy.

Evilgal: Is there a particular thought that you use to keep a straight face?

Ben Masters: I don't have a particular thought. I do try to bite my lower lip without it being too obvious.

Tracey Ross: I don't have a particular thought. I think it just goes through my head not to screw up the scene by laughing inappropriately.

Bryray: Mr. Masters, the character you play is diabolical yet humorous. Do you see anything in your own personality that reminds you of Julian Crane?

Ben Masters: Very little. You have to tap into fantasies that you have as a person in your real life, I suppose, and use those in situations that your character is put into. So I'm not really like Julian.

Brittni87: How did you guys do on the softball game against "Days"?

Tracey Ross: We won 14 - 7.

SarahMchls: Ben, of all the roles you've played, which one hit 'closest to home' for you?

Ben Masters: The part in a play, and then the movie of the play, called "Key Exchange" that someone asked about earlier.

Grace827: What is the best part about going to work everyday?

Tracey Ross: The people, your cast mates. All the people who work here. We all get along so well together and enjoy each other.

Ben Masters: I agree with Tracey. It's like a big, weird family.

HAGIRL62: Love ya, Tracey! Loved your expressions in today's show!

Tracey Ross: I haven't seen it yet, but thank you so much!

Lil-angel83: What is you most prized possession and you biggest pet peeve?

Ben Masters: My most prized possession is my yellow Labrador retriever and my biggest pet peeve is my ex-wife who ran off with all that money.

Tracey Ross: My most prize possession that is not breathing would be my photo album. Arrogance would be my pet peeve.

RIP SUSHI: Ben, which other female cast member would you like you have a fling with?

Ben Masters: Now, we have to keep this in the legal age realm, of course! I bet Grace is a hot little tomato. I call her "Red." Give me some Grace Bennett.

SIPort: Ms. Ross, I read in a magazine that you read books on sociopaths for Eve. True?

Tracey Ross: I was doing research trying to find out what might make Eve behave in the way that she does. So I did read books on sociopaths and psychopaths and other conditions that might affect her behavior. I wanted to have a better handle on it so that I wouldn't play a stereotype.

Myra430: When is the next hiatus for the show?

Tracey Ross: We don't get hiatus. We don't have re-runs.

Kasandra: Ben, I love you in you tennis shorts. Will we be seeing you in them more often?

Ben Masters: Kasandra, the love of my life! I will wear a thong for you, my dear. So glad to see you are in on this chat tonight. You know how I feel about you, my love.

JuliansMilkMaid: Ben, did you enjoy dressing up as a bull?

Ben Masters: Yes, I did. Very much, my little MilkMaid! I had to improvise my hairdo and sunglasses, but I think it worked, don't you?

JuliansMilkMaid: Would you like to have Julian and Eve dolls made that say different lines? Would you buy one?

Ben Masters: I would definitely buy an Eve doll and I would make it say all sorts of things.

Ethanlover: How can we get an autograph picture of the cast of "Passions"?

Tracey Ross: The same address as earlier, but write to the attention of the Publicity Department.

Teddybear9000: Ben, you play such a great villain. Does that come easy for you?

Ben Masters: It's actually very difficult, but I dig down deep into my soul and find the muse. I also watch how Tracey Ross treats people in real life. Like at the grocery store. That's how I learned how to be a villain.

SIPort: Are you all in the dark about the storylines too?

Tracey Ross: Yes. We are very much in the dark and always surprised at what is going to happen.

NBC-Live: We are almost out of time for this evening. Thank you, Ben and Tracey, for joining us. Do you have any last words to leave with our audience tonight?

Ben Masters: I would just like to say, in all honesty, thank you for being interested enough to be here tonight and I just think you people are fabulous. Thank you.

Tracey Ross: I want to thank everyone, too, for supporting "Passions" and for being as gung ho watching it as we are about making it.

NBC-Live: A very special thanks to Ben Masters & Tracey Ross for participating tonight. Do you have comments or questions about this chat or anything you've seen on the NBC television network or e-mail us: Produced by NBC and Talk City, Inc. Copyright 2000. All rights reserved.