All of us remember, and relish, the naughtiest nighttime soap of the ’90s, aka ‘Melrose Place‘ – with Heather Locklear vamping it up, a pre-‘Desperate Housewives‘ Marcia Cross blowing up the complex, and enough drama to…well, bring the show back.
After last season’s successful reboot of ‘Beverly Hills 90210,’ the CW is returning to the ’90s and serving up a sexy remake of ‘Melrose,’ premiering next Tuesday at 9pm ET (following the season premiere of ‘90210‘).
I’ve watched the show and can tell you that it delivers the requisite secrets, drama, and moments that raise the room temperature. Although some cast members are back from the original (Thomas Calabro as Dr. Michael Mancini and Laura Leighton as Sydney Andrews), the focus this time around is on the seven hot newcomers inhabiting the familiar apartment complex. Who are they and what makes them tick? Read on and get to know your new prime time neighbors.
Click here for clips from the all-new ‘Melrose Place.’
THE VIXEN | KATIE CASSIDY
Name: Ella Simms
Where We’ve Seen Her Before: She kicked ass on ‘Supernatural‘ and most recently died a very poetic death as the doomed bride on the CBS murder mystery ‘Harper’s Island.’
Role: Power-hungry publicist that swings both ways
Amanda Woodward Reincarnated? “I wouldn’t necessarily draw parallels between Amanda and Ella. Yes, they were both businesswomen but you’re bound to have that in any apartment building. She’s a strong, independent woman, knows what she wants and will go to any extreme to get it. I’m having a lot of fun with the character- she’s awesome.”
Working With The Original Cast: “Laura is really sweet. Very real. It’s interesting and so refreshing with people who are so down to earth. Josie (Bissett) – I had my first scene with today – and she’s amazing. And she’s so stunningly people, I can’t stop staring at her! (Don’t think I’m weird). Everyone’s been really great.”
Fan Of The Original? “I wasn’t old enough when the show was on – my parents wouldn’t let me watch it. But obviously I was very aware of it before I even heard of them remaking it. Not even remaking it, it’s the same address it’s just updated.”
Reasons To Tune In: “A lot of it is what goes on behind closed doors. It reveals the truth about certain people, what they’ll do to get what they want, or what they don’t want. What bridges they’ll burn. It doesn’t matter. The thing that’s so fun about it, is literally anything can happen. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Ashlee (Simpson-Wentz, who plays Violet) and I are dating in some episode. Anything can happen- and we’re totally prepared. It makes it that much more fun.”
THE GOOD GUY | MICHAEL RADY
Name: Jonah Miller
Where We’ve Seen Him Before: He was the good guy on the CBS ’70s flashback ‘Swingtown’ and another good guy on ABC Family’s ‘Greek.’
Role: Aspiring filmmaker and all-around good guy
Getting The Part: “I was the first one cast – it was a little daunting because there was no script. I got this while I was still working on ‘Greek.’
Working With The Original Cast: “They are classy, classy classy. I love Laura and Thomas – and Josie Bissett – I just met her today. Awkwardly in the makeup trailer – there’s the white powder when you shave with an electric razor – and I was walking across the trailer to use the mirror, and she walks in. I was like “Hi Josie, Michael Rady, very nice to meet you – it’s a pleasure to have you here,” trying to be all slick and smooth. And I walk away, and both of the makeup women are cracking up laughing at me. Then I looked in the mirror and was like “Ayyy –I’m covered in white.”
A Hidden Dark Side? “They swear up and down that I’m going to be good but then I have to remind myself- It’s Melrose Place, nothing is sacred. I want him to have an edge and secrets, and I will push for that. He can’t be perfect.”
THE OUTSIDER | ASHLEE SIMPSON-WENTZ
Name: Violet Foster
Where We’ve Seen Her Before: On ‘7th Heaven,’ in the record store for her CDs, or in the tabloids as part of the Simpson family drama with older sister Jessica
Role: Seemingly naive, out-of-towner new to the complex
Dying Her Hair Red: “I like it. Actually, I had to go to a more natural-looking red. I had to let go of my fun, bright oranges. So I went to a more natural-looking red, and I like it. And Violet, in the beginning, she’s new to ‘Melrose Place,’ so she’s not quite up to par with her style. So it’s fun to play that too.”
Hiding A Secret? “You know, for me, it’s fun to play the innocent side, but the really innocent girl is probably not so innocent.” Hmm and with that red hair that’s so crucial to the character, could Violet be Sydney’s long-lost daughter?
THE SPOILED BRAT | SHAUN SIPOS
Name: David Breck
Where We’ve Seen Him Before: In the Mel Gibson produced TV series ‘Complete Savages’ as well as the CBS series ‘Shark.’
Role: The son of original ‘Melrose Place’ resident Dr. Michael Mancini
Dear Old Dad: “He’s in and out – he’s a constant source of pain for David. Him and David are very much at war- they don’t like each other very much. David doesn’t know people to know that. His father has cut him off from all the money, so he’s a bit of a Thomas Crown in the sense, to keep up appearances. To be able to be at war, and sort of fight with his father, he has to be in the same financial ballpark.”
What Makes David Tick: “He’s very mischievous, very wily. He can be manipulative, he has a temper. But I think he has a good heart, and really cares about his friends, and the people that live in the complex. It’s a good juxtaposition.”
Working With The Originals: “Thomas and Laura are fantastic. The other people I haven’t worked with yet. I just met Josie Bissett – she seems really sweet. But Thomas and Laura are amazing. They’re great. They’re the veterans – they’re able to give little pieces of wisdom – it’s fun to play in scenes with them.”
THE OPPORTUNIST | STEPHANIE JACOBSEN
Name: Lauren Yung
Where We’ve Seen Her Before: As the doomed pilot Kendra Shaw on the ‘Battlestar Galactica‘ TV-movie “Razor.”
Role: Med student/Lady of the night?
Getting The Part: “It happened during pilot season – timing-wise it was all very serendipitous. I was just coming out of something else and the chance to go in for Melrose came in and I kinda went – “Just get me in that room” – and they did and I got the character. I loved the producers straight off the bat. It was actually a really warm pleasantly memorable process. A lot of actors I know hate testing for studios and networks, but CBS and The CW – they made me feel like family. They made me feel like I was in a relative’s living room. Then I got the job and we shot the pilot and we’re now into our fourth episode of the series. It’s just been a dream. I think all seven of us wake up, pinch ourselves and go to work.”
Breaking Down Lauren: “Lauren is a third-year medical student. She’s utterly resolved to become a surgeon. She’s vehemently committed. She is a very good girl – she’s from Ohio, loves her Dad, that whole bit. She comes up against a financial barrier in the pilot. Her journey throughout the course of the pilot is about how she contends with that, using the tools that she has on hand.”
Why Melrose Is A Must-Watch: “I feel like I’d have a harder time dissuading people from watching the show. The CW has done a prodigious job of marketing it. I saw some of our billboards the other day and nearly crashed. When I read the pilot script, I was like “Really? Realllly??” At the end I was wanting to tune in for the second episode and I was like “Hang on, we haven’t even shot the pilot yet.”
THE LADIES’ MAN | COLIN EGGLESFIELD
Name: Auggie Kirkpatrick
Where We’ve Seen Him Before: Steaming up daytime TV as sexy stud Joshua Madden on ABC’s long-running ‘All My Children.’
Role: The sensitive chef that all the girls want and just might have a dark past.
Getting The Part: I was in New York and had just gotten off the daytime soap ‘All My Children.’ I was out of work, looking for my next acting gig. I saw ‘Melrose Place’ and you think campy, over the top. I had just come from daytime, was looking to do something a little more character driven, something a little different. So this came around, and once I read the audition I was like wow this is really well written, not what I’d thought it would be. It’s a lot of luck. I pinch myself every day going to the studio – it’s such an amazing job. I don’t even really think of it as a job, it’s just something I really love to do.”
Fatal Attraction? “Right now I’ve been with mostly Ashlee Simpson’s character a lot (her character has a crush on my character). And I’m like 10 years older than her on the show, so I kind of take like an older brother relationship to her. It’s cute in a lot of ways, but she has a lot of quirky personality behavioral problems that pop up and you realize this could be a recipe for disaster. She’s capable of doing anything.”
Melrose Secrets: “Everyone has a secret on this show and that’s why it grabs your attention and keeps it. You want to find out who did what and why. For at least the first seven episodes, the primary storyline is on who killed Sydney. From there, everything kind of sprouts from there, we do a bunch of flashbacks and stuff. It’s kinda sad because Laura is such an amazing actress and such a cool person – I loved working with her. Hopefully they’ll keep her around longer than that – maybe she’ll come around as a ghost?”
THE TEASE | JESSICA LUCAS
Name: Riley Richmond
Where We’ve Seen Her Before: As Kimberly on ‘90210‘ and running from aliens in the thriller ‘Cloverfield.’
Role: The bride-to-be with slightly cold feet.
Getting The Part: “I had done ‘90210’ – four episodes before, so they kinda approached me about it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, I was apprehensive because it’s a remake. And then I sat down with Todd and Darrin (the producers) – and they explained what they were going to do with it, and their concept of it and I immediately was like “I’m hooked, I’m there.” The whole murder mystery thing, everything – I was just in.”
Breaking Down Riley: “I play Riley Richmond, she’s a schoolteacher- very warm, caring, compassionate – kinda the mama of the group. Everyone kinda comes to her with their problems. She’s dating Jonah Miller in the pilot – who’s the filmmaker. They live together and he proposes to her in the pilot. And she kinda struggles with “should I get married, should I not” I think she’s having cold feet and trying to figure out her identity still and what she wants out of her life because I think a lot of their relationship revolves around him and his career.”
The Other Residents: “Lauren’s her best friend, Ella and her have the whole love triangle with her and Jonah – and Violet and her – she feels kinda sorry for Violet, so there starts to be a relationship there, until she finds out she’s crazy!”
Good Girl Gone Bad? “She’s not as good as you think. It doesn’t take her long to maybe turn over to the bad side. It doesn’t take long.”