Spotlight on Ben Lewis: DEGRASSI’s Latest Bad Boy

If there’s one thing DEGRASSI has taught us over the years, it’s that gone means anything but forgotten. So while Fiona may have left both New York City and abusive beau Bobby behind, she’ll soon find out that like a bad penny, you can’t keep a good villain from turning up again… usually when you least expect it. ??In other words, expect Bobby Beckonridge — the kind of troubled teen who would make BEVERLY HILLS 90210′s Dylan Walsh look like SAVED BY THE BELL’s Screech — to show up at Canada’s most popular high school before too long. 

Lucky for this TV Addict, Bobby’s portrayer, Ben Lewis, is nothing like the abusive boyfriend he plays on the wildly-addictive teen sudser. In fact, it turns out he’s a downright nice guy who was thrilled — and maybe even a little surprised — to finally land a role on the show that has become something of a right of passage for young Canadian thespians. 

“I was starting to have a bit of a complex about it, because I had auditioned several times and had been close, but didn’t walk away with a part,” admits the affable actor who was kind enough to take some time during the opening night party for the premiere of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” to talk chat about his new gig. “Then this character came along! I was originally told they wanted somebody younger. But after the first round of auditions, they didn’t find anybody, so I got another call.” 

Of course, as is often the case, getting the role was the easy part. Soon after, he discovered that he’d be stepping into the shoes of a guy with some serious baggage and a tendency to lash out both verbally and physically. Fortunately, he was blessed to have Annie Clark playing Fiona, the victim of his alter ego’s rages. ”Annie is the sweetest girl, and we got along really really well from the very beginning which really helps, especially when you’re dealing with such sensitive subject matter. You feel that you trust  the other person, and you can really go there. And really, we just wanted the best performances that could possibly come out of it.”

Ask any actor, and they’ll tell you that when it comes to shows like DEGRASSI, bad boys have all the fun. “As an actor, you want that challenge, and Bobby Beckonridge is a great part. There’s nothing more fun than playing the villain,” shares Lewis. But was he worried about the impact of leaping into the national spotlight in a role that could potentially pigeonhole him? After all, it can be hard for audiences to watch an actor beat up a teenage girl in one project and play the romantic lead in another. “I wasn’t really thinking of it in terms of career strategy,” he admits. “We’ll see what the fall out it is, but I had a really good time, and I’m hoping there is a future life for the character on the show.”

For now, like Fiona, viewers haven’t seen the last of Bobby. Reveals the actor, “I’ll be back in around the 20th episode and then beyond that I don’t know. I heard a rumor that i might be coming back at the end of the season.”

Either way, fans of the actor will be happy to hear that regardless of what happens to his mean-spirited DEGRASSI counterpart, they can still get their Ben Lewis fix… by heading to the local googleplex to see a little film that’s been getting a wee bit of attention this summer.

“It’s purely coincidental that DEGRASSI and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World are coming out within weeks of each other,” explained the actor. “It’s really exciting for me. Probably the biggest TV gig I’ve had thus far and certainly the biggest movie I’ve been a part of. I haven’t seen the finished film yet but am going to the premiere in Los Angeles next week. I’m so excited to see it! Everyone who has seen it says it’s incredible. It’s not a big role, but I’m just thrilled to be apart of it in any capacity. It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for me.”

Which we guess explains that whole “good mood” thing.

  • Suzanne Stephan