After Nearly 20 Years Of Film And Prime-Time, Megan Ward Hits It Big On General Hospital Megan Ward has worked consistently since her cinematic debut in 1990. She has starred opposite Brendan Fraser (Encino Man, 1992), Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Matthew McConaughey (Glory Daze, 1996), Emilo Estevez and his brother Charlie Sheen (Rated X, 2000), Jerry O'Connell (Joe's Apartment, 1996), Donnie Wahlberg (Boomtown 2002-03).... The list goes on. She starred or recurred on five prime-time soaps (Class Of '96, ex-Patty, 1993; Winnetka Road, ex-Nicole, 1994; Party Of Five, ex-Jill, 1994-95; Melrose Place, ex-Connie, 1997-98; Four Corners, ex-Kate, 1998) and has logged too many episodic appearances to count. How is it that she's not yet a household name?
"Yes, how is that?" grins Ward, as she sits down for her first feature. "I ran into Ben Affleck at a premiere a few years and he was like, 'You're that great actress from that movie! What are you doing?' And I'm like, 'Looking for work,'" she recalls with a laugh. "While we were doing that film, (Affleck and Damon) went to Chris Moore, one of the guys producing it, with a script that went into turnaround and they were having trouble getting it made. Some little movie called Good Will Hunting. Noe Chris is a gigantic producer and the boys have their Oscars."
Megan has a repertoire of funny stories about near-misses, but one thing is evident in her delivery - there's not an ounce of bitterness. In fact, she insists her career has unfolded just the way it should have, allowing her to start a familt and pointing her in the direction of General Hospital. "I've had the fantasti opportunities, but also the fantastic failures and a lot of false starts," she relates. "But I made a choice a long time agot to let go of any expectations and simply do what an actor does: prepare, show up and play. And General Hospital has been one of the most fulfilling jobs I've ever had."
That situation started with a different role. "My first opportunity here was, believe it or not, a recasting for Carly," Megan reveals. "I didn't know the shoes I had to fill. They hired Laura Wright and not that I've been there for six months, I think I could have played Carly, but it would have been very different - and now I understand how much that interpretation matters. But then came Kate and I responded to every single thing about her. I liked her spunk, her sass, her secret. She wasn't a victim. She had a backstory. There's a duality to the character. I saw the potential where she could go and I really wanted to take on what it could be."
The daytime schedule also played in to her decision to take the job: It kept her in town, allowed time for family life and offered a place to go every day and do meaningful work. Another Perk? Maurice Benard (Sonny). "He's the best actor on the show," she enthuses. "I'm sorry, everyone [laughs]! He's a fantastic actor for many reasons. He's a phenomenal scene partner and that has meant a lot to me."
Harmony in real life and reel life; you could say she's had it all. So what else is on Megan's wish list? "I'm still waiting for my big break that makes me an overnight sensation," she laughs.
Secret Crushes: C. Thomas Howell, The Outsiders, Duran Duran
"This is so embarrassing. When I was 12, I would practice in front of the mirror the encounter that we would eventually have, being that I was going to be a famous actress and working with C. Thomas Howell on some big-budget, A-list blockbuster - and I would tell him the story of how I rehearsed my speech when I was 12. Well, about 20 years later, I'm at some random independent film audition and who walks by? I was done! Cold sweat.... I'm a grown woman with accomplishments under my belt and I was like, 'What should I do?' He came out of the audition. I asked how the room was, he said okay, wished me a nice day. I said, 'Same to you.' Nothing! I had it all prepared and nothing! So, I'm still waiting to give him my speech."