Jane Badler Interview

Yesterday, a long interview with Jane Badler was published at readingeagle.com:

Jane Badler returns to signature role on 'V'
By Ian Spelling New York Times Syndicate

Jane Badler returns to her signature role, as the villainess Diana on the ABC reboot of "V," and fanboys around the world were counting down the minutes until her first episode aired Tuesday.

So where did she go?

Speaking by telephone from her home in Melbourne, Australia, she fills in the blanks of a 20-year absence from American television.

"I continued to work after 'V,' " said Badler, who played Diana in the television movie "V'' (1983), the miniseries "V: The Final Battle" (1984) and the weekly series "V'' (1984-1985). "Then, for 'Mission: Impossible' (1988-1990), I came to Australia and I met a man. So I left
L.A., and I had two children very quickly. I raised them and, here in Australia, I became a theater actress, a cabaret artist and a jazz singer.

"So I went a different way for a while. Ultimately it was a journey I had to go on. Sometimes it was satisfying, sometimes it was frustrating. I hit walls, just as anyone does, but at the end you become better for it. You can call yourself an artist because you've got the experience behind you. It's what I had to do, and I'm so glad I did it.

"I'm still singing. I just did a music video, and I have a CD coming out in May (entitled "Tears Again") - but, coming back now to American television, I bring a stillness and gravity I might not have had without everything that's happened."

ABC's new version of "V'' kicked off last season, with Morena Baccarin playing the Diana-esque Anna, who leads an alien race that has arrived on Earth with supposedly benevolent intentions. The Vs soon showed their true colors, however, and human rebels put up a fight. Initial ratings for the series were strong, but trailed off. Still, the overall numbers made "V'' one of the season's highest-rated new shows, and ABC ordered a second season.

That second season debuted with the episode "Red Rain," which showcased Badler as Diana. Strange as it seems, Badler revealed, she was asked to audition for her old role.

"That was pretty bizarre," Badler said, "but it's an indication of how tough this industry is on actors. You constantly have to prove yourself, no matter who you are and no matter what you've done. You've got to be made of tough stuff. Auditioning for this was hard."

Badler obviously got over it and impressed the producers. Though she originally had been signed only for "Red Rain," after seeing her performance in that episode, ABC hired her to appear in most of the second season's 10 episodes - originally 13, but the network later reduced the season to 10 hourlong episodes in order to accommodate the March 29 premiere of "Dancing With the Stars."

"My goal was just to come in and do a cameo," Badler said. "That's all I'd hoped for and, really, at the time it's all I wanted.

"You get there and things change. The crew was magnificent, the special effects were top-notch, it was beautifully shoot, and the cast was wonderful. I was amazed by the excitement around the set and the respect everyone gave me. I went, 'Wow, this is a lot of fun. I'd love to do more.'

"Thank goodness, they liked what I was doing. That's what they needed to see, and they kept me for the season. It was fantastic. I loved it."

So what should fans look for? Badler is cautious about giving away plot twists, but doesn't mind setting up the basic situation.

"When we begin the new season, Diana is in a dungeon," the actress said. "She's been kept there for 15 years by Anna, who has told everyone I'm dead in order to take over. The first time I'm revealed is when Anna comes down into the bowels of the ship. It's great. It's chilling the first time you see me.

"I am developed beyond the basement. I do get out, and what happens is fabulous."

Badler waxes enthusiastic about Baccarin, calling her the real deal as an actress and noting that "I felt the sparks the minute we met."

As for her own acting, Bad-ler quickly realized that she needed to dial it down a notch if she were going to reprise Diana.

"The '80s was the decade of nighttime soaps, when you had 'Dynasty' and 'Falcon Crest' and 'Dallas,' " Badler said. "There was a campiness to the way people acted. We had that on 'V,' and it took me awhile to get out of that, playing Diana now.

"When I first arrived on set, the director (Bryan Spicer) worked with me to help me keep a certain stillness, to keep it small and natural. When you have the green screens and the lines these characters say, 'Such beauty within ,' you often want to make it bigger. You play it like it's Shakespearean. (Spicer) had me do it smaller, and that set the tone and helped me throughout the rest of my episodes."

If the second season clicks, "V'' - and Badler - may well return for more. The actress wants in, assuming that she's wanted in return.

"I think there's new excitement about this season, about the story lines, about old characters coming back," Badler said. "They've upped the ante a bit. So I think, if they can pull in those audiences again, they're going to stay this time.

"I'd love to see it be a huge hit. Something like this, a re-imagining, needs more than two seasons in order to stand in its own right.

"If it keeps going and it's a success in its own right, that would be a tremendous accomplishment, because everyone's worked so hard. And if there's more, I'd love to be a part of it.

"I have no idea if that will happen. They may feel that their use for me has come and gone. So I don't know, but it's been great. No matter what happens, it's been the most wonderful thing to me."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So pleased to see Jane Badler back on American TV - and as Diana too!!! This woman is pure class.