James Hyde talks Passions, life, an exciting new project and more! Read more here --->
We got the chance to speak with the lovely James Hyde, who most know as the town of Harmony's Police Chief Sam Bennett from Passions. We talked about his path to success and got his thoughts on Passions. As well as some details on his exciting new project!
James started his career off by modeling in the eighties and then started to get involved in music. He described his path from music to acting as an organic transition. He moved to Los Angeles from London in 1989 and jumped pretty quickly into studying acting. He stated that eventually, he learned that it just wasn't the right time for him to be there. So, he moved to Miami, Florida. But in 1992, he took a 16-week course with Michael Shurtleff. Shurtleff, who was a major force in casting on Broadway in the 60s and 70s, wrote a book titled Audition. The book has been described as somewhat of a "bible for aspiring actors." James stated that he had such an amazing experience during the course. He knew going into the process that the course would help him decide whether acting was something that he truly wanted to pursue. "After the course finished, I was so hungry. I said that this was something I really want to pursue and challenge myself."
Not long after Hyde was cast on Another World where he played the character of Neil Johanssen. He credits the role of catapulting him into the business. After he left Another World he was cast on a brand new soap, Passions. Where he played the loveable moral compass, Sam Bennett for nine years. "I was so happy to join the cast at the very beginning and [be there at the] end."
James' time on Passions brought him great memories and even better friendships. He mentioned that he keeps in contact with Eva Tamargo, Galen Gering, Rodney Van Johnson and more from the cast.
Even though Passions has been off the air for a decade now it still has hoards of fans. James tributes the show's ongoing legacy with its uniqueness. "I think [Passions] was way ahead of its time. Way ahead of its time with the supernatural [aspects] and its storylines." In James' words Passions recreated a whole new audience for the soap opera genre by bringing in younger viewers with their relevant and at times eccentric storylines. And he feels that viewers today can still relate to the show and hopes that viewers who grew up watching the show get the chance to show it to their children. "It is something that will forever be there for all of us." Can we please have Passions streaming somewhere already?!!!
We then talked about how so many shows from the past like Will & Grace, Murphy Brown and The X-Files have been brought back after years of being off the air. With a show like Passions, of course, you would need the cast to be willing to come back and make it work. So, would he be willing to come back to soaps?
And the answer is.....maybe? James recounted how once Passions ended he tried to distance himself from the soap world for a while. He said "I don't think that they were welcoming me back with open arms." when it came to him trying to step back into the genre later on. James, of course, was known for the "good guy" roles when it came to soaps. He played an Internal Affairs agent on Another World and a Police Chief on Passions. And when he decided to try and come back to soaps he wanted to be cast as a villain in some capacity. So, maybe typecasting was the problem? But James said, "If something right came along I would certainly say yes."
Life since Passions for James has been up and down like it is for every actor but has involved some guest spot roles and commercial acting. He recounts how grateful he was to be on a show like Passions and be in the same role for nine years. "We were very lucky!" And aside from work James has a wonderful home life. "I have a beautiful son who just turned fifteen. My wife is amazing. I've been married for thirty years."
James did let us in on an exciting new project that he has been cast in. He spent the months of October of 2018 to February of this year in Mexico shooting a show titled Monarca for Netflix that is being produced by Salma Hayek. He couldn't let us in on too much about the show or his role at this time, but he is really excited for the show to air sometime in September. "This is an amazing opportunity that I have."
The Hollywood Reporter recently ran an article about the series being greenlit by Netflix. And says that Monarca is described as a high-stakes, multi-generational family saga about a tequila-born Mexican business empire and the battle that ensues when a member of the family decides to fight the dirty system her family helped create.
As always I love to find out something about my favorite soapers that I didn't know before. And for James that was about his wild and amazing music career before he became an actor. "I don't think a lot of people know about the music side of me." He toured with the band Dead or Alive in 1987 and even did a world tour in 1989. He got to opportunity to perform in Europe, Greece, and Italy. He even was pegged to play at some Versace parties. And in 1993, he signed a demo contract with Electra Records. He stated that one of the amazing moments in his life was getting to play his demo for Seymour Stein, who was the record executive that first signed Madonna. James related his sound to acts like the Beastie Boys and Rage Against The Machine. I asked if he still played music today to which he said "I enjoyed it and had a good time. And [then] I moved on."
James wanted to thank fans that have continued to support him since day one and notes how he and other actors wouldn't be where they are today without them. "We so much appreciate them." And as for fans of Passions? "Just keep the faith of Passions." He also asked for everyone to continue to support his fellow castmates from the soap. "All of us are still out there. We're trying and we're still in the business."
Soap Opera News would like to thank James for a wonderful interview. And we wish him continued success! Be sure to check on Monarca later this year on Netflix!