|Days of Our Lives|
Created by head writers Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell, the character was introduced by co-executive producers Lisa de Cazotte and Greg Meng in February 2014m as the estranged brother Jordan Ridgeway (Chrishell Stause). Actor Justin Gaston originated the role and was quickly replaced by Wilson in April 2014. Ben's arrival upsets Jordan's new life in Salem. The character's most significant storylines include his romance with Abigail Deveraux (Kate Mansi), trying to live down his secret past threatened by the arrival of his abusive father Clyde Weston (James Read), his feud with Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn). Ben is mostly known for being a serial killer known as the "Necktie Killer" and claiming several victims, most notably gay legacy character Will Horton (Guy Wilson). While killing off the character of Will proved to be quite controversial, Robert Scott Wilson received nearly universal critical acclaim for his portrayal of Ben's descent into an obsessive and crazed psycho killer. One blog christened the character with the nickname "Batty Ben".
Ben appears in Salem in February 2014 and gets a job as a waiter at Club TBD. It is revealed that he shares a past the mysterious Jordan Ridgeway (Chrishell Stause) but she warns him to keep his distance. After Jordan's boyfriend Rafe Hernandez (Galen Gering) catches them together, Jordan is forced to be admit that Ben is her brother. Meanwhile, Ben is immediately smitten with the beautiful Abigail Deveraux (Kate Mansi). Ben comes to Abby's defense when she gets into a heated confrontation with her cousin Nick Fallon (Blake Berris). Jordan later tries to persuade Ben to leave town with her when she fears someone has found out about their past but he talks her down. Ben comforts Abigail when Nick is murdered in front of them and they later share a kiss. Ben is later questioned as a suspect in Nick's murder do to their prior confrontation. Ben later accompanies Abigail to EJ DiMera and Sami Brady's wedding only for EJ to get arrested shortly after. A presumably distraught Sami later confides in Ben that Abigail had an affair wit EJ. Ben assures Abigail that her past does not change how he feels about her. Ben rushes to Jordan's side when their father Clyde Weston (James Read) tracks them down in Salem demanding that they repay the cash they stole from him. Jordan empties out her life's savings to pay Clyde to leave town, but he suddenly turns over a new leaf and returns the money. Ben continues seeing Abigail despite her reservations due to her past with EJ. Ben struggles to make ends meet and Clyde offers to help him, and he reluctantly accepts money from him. Meanwhile, Ben clashes with Abigail's ex-boyfriend, Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn) who calls her out on her affair with his brother and tries to sabotage Ben's attempt at getting a new apartment. After Chad provokes Ben by referencing how his sexual escapades with both Abby and Jordan, Ben snaps and beats Chad nearly to death, leading to him getting arrested. Clyde offers to pay for Ben's legal defense but Abigail convinces Chad to drop the assault charges. However, Ben legal troubles don't end there as the FBI comes looking for him and Ben is forced to come clean to Abigail about his prior involvement in a Florida gambling ring. Ben explained that while he never participated in the gambling, he directed participants to the games in exchange for a payment. Fortunately, for Ben, when one of the witnesses is killed, the charges are dropped and Ben resumes his romance with Abigail. Skeptical of Chad's motives when he helps Abigail get her job back, Ben asks Abigail to move in with him and she agrees to think about it. Fearing she is hiding something, Ben plants a tracking device on her phone. Ben is happy when Abigail suddenly agrees to move in with him. One night, Ben follows Abigail to the DiMera mansion where he learns they have slept together. However, Ben is content with the fact that Abigail has chosen him decides not to confront her. Ben is presented with his late mother's engagement ring from Clyde and he proposes to Abigail who is hesitant to accept. Abigail later happily accepts his marriage proposal and Ben is ecstatic to learn she is pregnant. They start wedding plans and Clyde even buys them a house as a wedding gift. After Chad becomes the prime suspect in the murders of Serena Mason (Melissa Archer) and Paige Larson (True O'Brien), Ben warns Abigail away from him for her own safety. Realizing she can't keep her distance, Ben convinces Abigail to leave town to protect their future. The killer later tries and fails to kill Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) when Chad interrupts the attack. Ben later decides to stay in town when he learns the cops are looking for Chad who has gone on the run. Ben is later shown dumping evidence that proves he is behind the murders. He later ask Abigail's cousin Will Horton (Guy Wilson) to be the best man at their wedding and Will happily agrees. Meanwhile, Ben is furious when Abigail's brother JJ (Casey Moss) gets Clyde arrested for drug trafficking and they nearly get into a brawl at the police station. Later, Ben kills Will who has realized Ben is responsible for the attacks and frames Chad for the murder once again. Chad who initially believes Clyde is behind the killings realizes it is Ben and comes out of hiding to confront him. They fight, Ben overpowers Chad and beats him into a coma. Ben then claims that Chad broke into his apartment and attacked him because he is obsessed with Abigail.
Casting and creationIn the summer of 2013 Soap Opera Digest reported that the soap had put out two separate casting calls, one of which was for the role of Ben. In February 2014, it was reported that actor and country singer Justin Gaston, known for his appearance on the television series, Nashville Star had been cast in the contract role of Ben. Gaston filmed his first scenes in October 2013 and was slated to make his first appearance on February 26, 2014.
During the week of April 7, 2014, rumors circulated that Gaston had been replaced by actor Robert Scott Wilson, with neither actor nor the show commented on the speculation. On April 14, 2014, Soap Opera Digest confirmed the rumor and reported that Gaston was indeed replaced by Wilson, known for being the first male model on The Price Is Right and his portrayal of Peter Cortlandt in the short-lived online reboot of the ABC soap, All My Children. Wilson commented on the news that he would soon depart from the game show, and thanked fans. The following day, Wilson confirmed his final appearance on The Price is Right as April 15, and assured fans that he was not leaving on bad terms but did not comment on his new gig at Days of Our Lives. Wilson made his debut on May 22, 2014, in scenes opposite Kate Mansi as Abigail and Days veteran Kristian Alfonso as Hope Brady. At the time, Wilson was testing for another project on Fox. When the project fell through, Wilson returned to Boston to visit his family for Christmas which is when he learned he got the job. "It came at a time when I didn't expect," Wilson told Soap Opera Digest. Ironically, Wilson had just purchased a brand new Mercedes Benz the week before booking the gig. "Fortune favors the bold" he said of his luck. He started filming on January 8, 2014, and had filmed twelve episodes by the end of February. Wilson accredited his landing the role to his time on All My Children and one of his former costars, Jill Larson who played his mother, Opal. Wilson also found common ground with former AMC alum, Chrishell Stause who played Ben's sister, Jordan Ridgeway and said Stause and [Kate] Mansi helped him make the transition. After landing the gig, Wilson learned he would also be working opposite [Kristian] Alfonso, another Boston native.
The original casting call described Ben as being in his early to mid 20s, a “gorgeous, Caucasian, country boy.” He is supposed to be Midwestern or Southern. The casting notice also described Ben as “utterly charming” due to his “honest sincere approach to life and love.” The producers looked for actors with a musical background. According to Soap Central, musical talent was not a requirement for those auditioning for the role. Ben was also said to have a "slight southern accent." He's kind of a loner. He's traveled and can read people very well." However, Ben can be a bit unpredictable, and according to Wilson, "he's a loose cannon." Ben has a lot of rage because he comes from a "messed-up home." Wilson described Ben as a "good guy" who isn't afraid to "put somebody in line if he has to." Unlike his former role as Pete, "With Ben, I'm playing more of a hungry person." Wilson further described Ben as "very street-smart" and the typical "nice guy." However, he can be a protective of his loved ones. In an interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Wilson explained that Ben has a "temper" that can get him into trouble. Ben has a "protective nature" because of his past.
Background and relationships
Wilson later admitted that he didn't know much about the character when he assumed the role of Ben. "[The producers] really only gave me what I needed to know to make it real and understandable to me." Wilson revealed that the producers gave him a lot "creative control" when it came to his character's backstory. Wilson revealed that he and Ben share a similar background because he too comes "from humble beginnings." Wilson stated, "Ben has pretty much always been broke" and he's never experienced any real "stability in his life." "I had to come up with my own backstory for things to work for me as the story went further" the actor explained. Wilson said of his character that "Ben has lived a crazy life. Ben hopes to make a home for himself by settling in the same town as his sister Jordan Ridgeway (Stause). Though Ben is the younger of the siblings, he has "stepped up" for Jordan and tries to be a father figure for her and protect her as payback for her raising him. However, Ben's plans are threatened by the arrival of his father, Clyde Weston (Read). Ben "very wary of Clyde" because he only has bad memories of him. While Clyde and Ben want the same thing, to build a father-son relationship, Clyde's schemes constantly undermines any progress they make.
The character is paired with Abigail Deveraux (Mansi) in a romantic storyline. Wilson explained that Abigail is the first girl to make Ben want to "settle down" and have a stable relationship. "It's all really new to him." Ben's secret past jeopardizes his budding romance with Abigail because "He's not yet ready to tell her... but if everything is good at the end of the tunnel" Ben will come clean. Wilson formed a close bond with his costar Mansi which he said helped with their onscreen chemistry. Ben doesn't hold Abigail's past against her because "Everybody's got baggage" Wilson said. Ben can understand and identity with Abby having a trouble past "because he's far from perfect himself." Abby and Ben's new romance is also threatened by return of her ex-boyfriend Chad DiMera (Flynn). Abigail is forced to choose between staying faithful to Ben and protecting him from a potential prison stint when he gets arrested for assaulting Chad. After an affair with Chad, which Ben witnesses, Abigail ends up pregnant and is unsure of her baby's paternity. Ben is so desperate to make a better life for himself that he willingly overlooks Abigail's cheating. "That's always in the back of Ben's head" Wilson stated. So, Ben is faced with the task of burying those feelings and staying focused on "his ultimate goal of having a family and becoming stable." He continued, "Abigail is the puzzle piece that will make all of that possible." Wilson further stated that this is the first relationship where Ben has "found something to invest in" and he is afraid to lose that so when he learns she is pregnant, Ben holds on tighter. However, "it's eating him alive" Wilson said of Abigail seemingly being drawn to Chad. But, he finds comfort in Abby's reassurances which keep him grounded in the "reality that he knows." Wilson said he'd advise his character to leave Abigail and the town of Salem behind but admitted "Love makes you do wild stuff."
The Necktie killer
On August 1, 2015, Entertainment Weekly confirmed that the series would launch a Murder mystery storyline in late August 2015 in preparation of the 50th anniversary. The storyline would feature several Salem citizens including fan favorites as victims. The plot was slated to climax during the week of November 8, 2015, the official anniversary date. The killer claims his first victim on August 27, 2015 when Serena Mason (Melissa Archer) is strangled to death setting up Billy Flynn's Chad DiMera as the prime suspect because of his drunken confrontation with her. On September 8, the killer claims another victim as Paige Larson (True O'Brien) is strangled to death with a red tie in the shower inside her dorm room. Chad once again is set up to look like the prime suspect because he also seen in public harassing Paige about her witnessing his confrontation with Serena. The second murder led to immediate speculation that Wilson's Ben was framing Chad. There was also speculation that Clyde was framing Chad on Ben's behalf. The September 24, 2015, featured the killer's first failed murder attempt when he tries to strangle Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall). At the episodes's end, Ben is revealed to be "The Necktie Killer" when he is shown looking through the evidence in a box under his bed. Wilson described the plot twist as "some of the most fulfilling work of my career." He said of the character change, "It's really night and day" from the Ben viewers had come to know. Wilson relished in portraying the "bad guy." However, Wilson wasn't too enthused about Ben's choice of victims, specifically True O'Brien's Paige. "That one got me the most because True is so young" Wilson explained. Wilson was very grateful because "they really did write for Ben" and that allowed him to take a lot of "chances and risks." He continued, "I played things that I had never done." In an interview with Michael Fairman from On-Air On-Soaps, Wilson revealed that when they had filmed the death scenes for the characters of Serena and Paige, he, like the rest of the cast was not yet aware of the killer's identity. Ben dumps the evidence in the river believing he has covered his tracks. They filmed the scenes in one take and Wilson later revealed that he wanted to re-shoot the scenes because he knew the fans wouldn't miss a beat and would notice that there was air in the bag -- which would keep it from sinking. The reveal episode also featured scenes in which Ben changes his mind about leaving town with Abigail when he learns there is an APB out for Chad because he feels a sense of "closure." On the October 9, 2015, episode Ben claims a third victim when he kills Will Horton (Guy Wilson) who has discovered he is the killer.
In late September 2015, Soaps SheKnows reported that Wilson would likely vacate the role of Ben Weston when the story wrapped. However, Wilson nor the network and series producers have yet to officially comment on Wilson's status with the series.
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