Luke Perry laughs at a recent magazine article in which his former “Beverly Hills, 90210” cast mate, Jennie Garth, is quoted saying that they’re working up a project to do together. “You listen to a thing she says? I have no idea what she’s talking about!” the actor claims in a jocular tone.
“You know what I love about working with Jennie?” he adds.
“I don’t know. I was hoping you’d know, ‘cause I don’t.”
But seriously – Perry acknowledges that “Jen’s a very good friend. It’s hard to schedule anything with her, though, because she has a lot going on. She’s one of these people conquering every medium. She’s in a movie right now, and I think when she comes back she has some kind of reality thing going.”
Perry is certainly a man on the move himself – with the third installment of his “Goodnight for Justice” Western movies for television coming up Saturday (1/26) on the Hallmark Movie Channel. “Goodnight for Justice: Queen of Hearts” pits his rough-hewn circuit judge character, John Goodnight, against a female con artist played by “Endgame’s” Katharine Isabelle. Ricky Schroder also stars in this, the second follow-up to his original “Goodnight for Justice” – the channel’s highest-rated movie ever.
“In the era of this movie, a lot of times women were exploited for the virtues they had to possess. To have a woman who took full possession of her own virtues and said, ‘No, I’ll be in charge’ – I thought it would be great to play off a character like that,” says Perry, who has retained his heartthrob looks into his forties.
He created the character and has much to do with the story planning and scripts, in addition to serving as executive producer and, apparently, taking on other responsibilities as needed. Sometimes, he acknowledges, inspiration comes in the form of what’s available to shoot.
“When you make these movies as quickly and inexpensively as we do, you have to sort of reverse-engineer them,” is how he puts it. “Queen of Hearts” has sequences of classic Old West riverboat gambling, for example. Says Perry, “We were scouting another location and we saw the boats. While scouting the boats, we saw this other piece of geography I thought would work really well, and it did. You see what’s in the fridge and what you can make out of it.”
What he’s made with “Queen of Hearts” is another solid, enjoyable Western with plenty of moments fans will love.
As for whether there will be more “Goodnight For Justice” movies?
“I don’t know,” he says. “This was our final one of the ones we did back-to-back. I’ve got ideas for more of them. I found some really cool stuff up there [in Canada] that we could use. I’m feeling a lot of love from the channel, but they’re pretty fiscally conservative over there. They always want to see how something performs before committing to the next thing.”
It sounds as if Perry himself feels fairly committed, however. A few minutes later, he acknowledges, “I’ve still got all that wardrobe from all those movies here in a box. I’ve never done that before – never actually kept all the character wardrobe. Hallmark wasn’t sure they were going to make more, and I said, ‘Well, I’m sure, so I’m keeping the stuff.’ That way, I’ll figure it out.’”
Perry, divorced since 2003, also has other characters, other scripts he’s nurturing along. “There are different periods of history I’m interested in,” he says. But he doesn’t even want to get specific about those times and places. “Then somebody will read it and get to them first. I’ve had a couple of not-so-good experiences with that.”
He also wouldn’t mind returning to the series world. “If the character works and it’s a good fit, I love to play a character over the course of years,” he says. But he has no interest in a reality skein of his own. “A camera crew following me around? No.”
“Goodnight for Justice: Queen of Hearts,” meanwhile, is “the best one of the three,” he wants to stress. “I think it’s the one where we really hit our stride and we have a lot of movie in there.” With John Goodnight confounded by a beautiful schemer?
“Listen, let me tell you one of the great truths of my life – I just don’t understand women,” he insists with his familiar twinkle. “This is a dynamic in my life I just can’t get away from. I don’t understand, though I’ve had mother sister daughter, wife — every relationship you can have with a woman and I don’t understand them. They make you do crazy things.”
So far, it’s been working out pretty well for him.