James Hyde

A walk in the park with

James Hyde


interview by Samantha Plotkin

With stunning blue eyes and dark hair, James Hyde brings a unique charisma to his roll as Chief of Police, "Sam Bennett" on the daytime drama Passions. His career spans from daytime to prime time with his previous role on Another World and appearances on Sex in the City, Mortal Kombat (theTV Series), and Miami Sands.

Hyde has also enjoyed involvement on the big screen with the independent features, "Let's Talk About Sex" and "Black Out" (with Dennis Hopper).

Melt: After high school you joined the military. Do any of those experiences help you with adding depth to the characters you play?

JH: I think it was a great experience to go through for that. It wasn't easy, but I think that's what forms character. I don't want things to be easy in my life. Life is all about trying to find a balance, finding a formula that works for you in life -- who knows what that is? But you just keep trying.

Melt: How did you get into modeling?

JH: I was in Hawaii, and I was working in a retail store, selling clothes. A photographer came in and said, "I think you would be a great model." I had no idea what that was, because modeling in the early eighties was not as prominent as it is now. And I said, "Yeah, I'll check it out."

James Hyde

So we went and shot some pictures. In Hawaii, you take it very "loose" because it's not something you can make a living from -- then. So then I started taking some pictures, but I was also keeping another job at the time. Some Australian came over and wanted me to go over there for a season. So I went over there for a year, and from that point on, I started traveling all over the world. I lived in Australia, I lived in London for three years, Paris, Italy, all over the place. It was great.

Melt: What made you decide to move to Miami and begin to study acting?

JH: My wife (Sue-Ling) and I lived eight years out of a bag, and we wanted to call someplace home. We went down to Miami in the early nineties, and fell in love with the place. It was just seasonal because the work down there is seasonal, and summertime is pretty dead. So, in the summertime we would go somewhere else. But, in 1995, we decided to buy a condo there.

James Hyde

A year later, I got a job on "Another World," in New York. So, boom, we're in New York. I was up there for six months, and then I got fired. I always said it was the best thing that ever happened to me because it makes you realize; how hard you really want to do this, how much you have to improve -- there's a lot of questions that go on in your mind when that happens. Basically -- that's another thing I said before -- I learned that you just can't give up, you have to keep going, you have to keep striving, and just doing the best you can.

Melt: What advice would you give someone who wanted to follow their dream of becoming an actor?

JH: A lot of people say they want to become an actor, but they really don't know the life commitment you have to give to do that. The only advice -- that I listen to myself -- is just to wake up every day and you got to believe in yourself. There's going to be so many things that happen in your life that are going to cause doubt, and make you not believe in yourself, so you can't listen to anybody, you have to listen to yourself.

Melt: What's it like working for "Passions?" What's a typical day like on the set?

JH: When we first started the show, it was very, very busy. Everyone was new, and it was so hectic. It was a lot of hours. Now, we've got it down to a machine. That's what soap operas are, a machine. It's turning out over a hundred pages a day and they do that in a movie, in, what, like, a year?

Melt: As you mentioned, you've been with "Passions" since it first began. What was it like being with a show since the beginning?

JH: It's great. I couldn't wish for anything better because you're the first person to introduce this character to the world. You set the standard for the character. Let everyone know, that's, "Sam Bennett."

Melt: Is there anything else you are working on?

JH: I work with a lot of charities, but right now I'm focusing on working with the American Diabetes Association and Oasis (a home for runaways in Hollywood, Los Angeles).

Sue-Ling and I decided to make candles and t-shirts, sell them, and then donate the proceeds to Oasis. Oasis is a home for kids, who runaway from places like Cleveland, Ohio or Colorado, come to Hollywood, and get messed up with doing drugs... this home invites them in and gives them a second chance.

James Hyde with  his dog

You can Visit James' official site at www.jameshydeonline.com

Samantha Plotkin is an award-winning playwright, screenplay writer, and freelance journalist. She has a Master's degree in Screenwriting from USC. Her articles and interviews have been published and reprinted in magazines and webzines nationwide and internationally.

You can also check out Samantha in the November/December issue of "SCRIPT Magazine." She was chosen as their "Up and Coming Screenwriter" for HOT SHEET.

© Melt Magazine 2002