The Flip Side
by Richard M. Simms
Soap Opera Previews

For Ben Masters, Julian offers the best of both worlds!

There was a time not so very long ago when PASSIONS' Julian Crane would have been considered one of the nastiest guys in Harmony, perhaps second only to his dastardly dad, Alistair. But portrayer Ben Masters knows that when it comes to soaps in general - and the one he calls home in particular - you just never know what might happen next!

Good Vs. Evil

"Julian's been on this track for the last year and a half where he wants to be a better man and make things up to Eve," explains the actor of his alter ego's transformation. Then again, given Julian's past antics, Masters wouldn't be surprised if the character's nastier side were to unexpectedly re-emerge. "I'm just waiting for the script where Julian walks into a room that no one has ever seen, closes the door and turns on a very strange, glowing light and starts cackling," he says in the immediately recognizable, mellifluous voice that PASSIONS fans can't get enough of.

But perhaps that's a plot twist which might have felt more at home in the early days, when PASSIONS shocked viewers by introducing them to Timmy, the living doll, and his creator, Tabitha, the wicked witch of the East Coast. "These days there seems to be more of an emotional connection happening between characters,” muses Masters of the subtle shift away from the supernatural.

The Power of Love

"In general, I think people like this new side to Julian. Some do miss the drunken lothario, you know, drooling over everything that walks,” he notes with a laugh. “But in general, they like, if I may, the giving, heart-filled, romantic, heroic Julian."

And as viewers know, the only thing able to draw a bad man over to the side of goodness and light is the love of a good woman. "Julian got into several fights with TC, and I think that allowed the character to be out in the open about his feeling toward Eve, which is what Julian wants more than anything," says Masters. "She has, in essence, made him want to be a more 'human' human."

The Other Woman

Not everybody appreciates Julian's desire to be with Eve, of course...her husband among them! "Why doesn't Julian get security to stop TC from barging into the mansion and attacking him?" asks Masters wryly. And then there are fans who would rather see the character whooping it up with his nympho wife. "Thank God for Andrea Evans!" gushes the actor of Rebecca's portrayer. "She is so fabulous and plays outrageous material [as naturally as if] she is baking a cake!"

Others fear that happily ever after could lead naturally to the end, storyline wise, for Julian and Eve. "Once everybody has the white picket fence, what do you do?" ponders Masters, who hopes there will be love and strife down the road for [Evian], as the fans have dubbed Julian and Eve. "I love working with Tracey [Ross, Eve]. We have such a good rapport. She's a very talented, wonderful and giving woman."

In fact, the actor considers himself very blessed when it comes to the cast with whom he spends each day. "I like working with everybody," he admits, adding that he has enjoyed the opportunity to work closer with several of the younger actors in recent months. "I love working with Brook Kerr (Whitney). She gives you everything she's got. And Justin Hartley (Fox)...I know it's going to be a good day when I'm working with him."

Will Harmony's bad boy finally find happiness with his darling Doc? "I never know what's going to happen," Masters says with a chuckle. "But I'm sure they'll throw a monkey wrench into things somehow!"