Tag Archives: Brooke Burns

Brooke Burns Talks Upcoming Wedding, Bad Girl Role, Meaningful Perspective

brooke burns lifetimeIt will a June wedding – June 22nd, to be exact – for Brooke Burns and “Warrior” director Gavin O’Connor.  And the leggy beauty who rose to fame on “Baywatch” tells us they’re planning their nuptials to include about 100 of their nearest and dearest.  “We’ve gone back and forth – ‘Let’s run away!’  ‘Let’s have only the girls’ – because he has a daughter as I do.  And then we decided we wanted to have our friends to share this and to have a big party.”

Burns has an awful lot to celebrate.  Madison, her daughter with ex-husband Julian McMahon, is a thriving, athletic middle schooler.  She has been able to take acting assignments that fit with her family life – including Lifetime’s April 27 “A Sister’s Revenge.”  And she’s alive to do it all, a fact particularly meaningful to Burns as it will be eight years in November since the diving accident that could have taken her life or left her paralyzed.  It did leave her with a broken neck.  It took a surgically-implanted titanium plate and rod and weeks of recovery for her to overcome her injury.

“I always say scars are a sign of victory not defeat,” she declares.

Burns is thankful for the paradigm shift in perspective brought on by her brush with death.   “I remember coming out of the hospital and thinking, ‘Okay, its time to re-evaluate,” she tells us.  “The first thing that hit me was, ‘Who am I spending my time with?’  I did a total clean out of friends, of people I knew maybe didn’t have the best of intentions, of people who made me wonder, ‘Why am I with this person?’”  It’s easy, she notes, to accumulate such acquaintances in the rush of building and keeping a career going in the industry — of “keeping the plates spinning,” as she puts it.

“I tried to go home more, and be with family more, and spend time with the people who mean the most to me.  In my parenting, it gave me an incredible sense of seizing the day and making every day with Madison count.”

Burns admits, “It’s easy to get away from that thinking, but I’m fortunate to have constant reminders of what’s important in life and to try to keep my eye on the game in that kind of way.  You think about what you want your legacy to be at the end of your life.  So it’s almost like having that deathbed kind of perspective in everyday living.”

What it has meant to her professionally is working in a way that allows her to honor her priorities.  Recent years have seen her in a string of made-for-cable-TV films.

“My fans are like, ‘Okay, you’re here and then you disappear.’  Part of that has been by design.  Having a daughter in middle school is very different from having a young child.  It’s a different kind of balancing act,” she observes.  “I just remember the middle school and high school years being difficult.  As a mother, I want to be fully present for Madison during this time.  That’s been key.  Julian and I have worked very hard to balance, to make sure one of us is in L.A. if the other parent is out of town.  So, these kinds of films, these crazy, insane, really hard hours – but in the big picture, shorter-term schedules – make really great sense for me.  Going to Ottawa for four weeks, six weeks, then having time at home works for my life.”

“A Sister’s Revenge” gave her the chance to play a bad girl like never before.

“I’ve gone from Hallmark to pure evil,” she notes.  Burns has a great laugh like a cascade of bells that rings out as she talks of this character, who is hell-bent on causing pain and suffering in the life of the man she believes responsible for her sister’s death.

“I loved all the complexities of her.  She’s so focused and single-minded about what her mission is, and yet at the same time, to accomplish that mission, she has to play so many different roles.  She is seductive, flirting with this man. She tries to befriend his wife. She has to pull off these different roles. So it kept me on my toes.”

This offers vicarious thrills for women, of course.  It sounds like every man’s nightmare?

“Yes, exactly!  Onscreen payback for everything bad a guy’s ever done to me.”  She laughs that laugh.  Then she demurs.  “No, no.  It’s just a treat to do something so different and step outside the box.  She really steps out of reality – that’s how far gone she is.”

Meanwhile, Burns is awaiting word on “Where Have You Been All My Life?” – described as sort of a “Dating Game” for the social media age.  She’s made two installments for the Game Show Network and will soon see if and when it’s scheduled.

As far as getting back into the series game?  It’s something I would be open to – if it were in L.A.  I know the hours can be tough, but at least being able to come home at night makes a big difference.  But going out of state or out of the country — I would probably have to wait a couple of years before I decided to relocate anywhere, for sure.”

She has a daughter, and soon, a husband to think about.

 

Valerie Harper: Series That Make Fun of Seniors Not for Her

Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper may return to the series scene this year —  but it won’t be in a vehicle that’s mean-spirited toward the senior set.  The four-time Emmy winner is awaiting word on two pilots and says, “I’d love to do a series again and stay on the West Coast, but it has to be right.  I turned down two pilots last year because they didn’t feel right to me.”

 She explains, “I’ve been offered things that kind of make fun of older people, but not in a humorous way.  It’s almost like a bunch of young guys in a room said, ‘Oh, what’s funny about an old woman?’  And then it gets to be tiresome.  You can be absolutely legitimately funny with older people.  Phil Rosenthal, who wrote ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ — the older couple played by Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle in that show were hilarious.  But it wasn’t vulgar about her wanting a boob job or this or that — stuff that isn’t real.”

Harper, who’s among the stars of  Saturday’s (1/7) Hallmark Channel Original Movie, “Fixing Pete” — is certainly no prig.  For instance, “I did ‘Sex in the City,’ which was a wonderful show,” she notes.  “You could say it was vulgar, but it was vulgarity in the service of comedy.”

And of course, she was absolutely bawdy, naughty and witty as notorious 1930s actress Tallulah Bankhead (“I’m pure as the driven slush”) in Looped, the role that brought her a 2010 Tony nomination.  “I think we’re going to tour that, but it’s hard,” she says.  “The truth is, most of the touring companies now are musicals, but this, Looped, was so hilariously funny.  Tony and I are talking about it.  He produced it,” she says, referring to her husband of 24 years, Tony Cacciotti.

Harper says she didn’t hesitate when it came to joining the cast of the very light romantic comedy, “Fixing Pete.”  Her newspaper editor-in-chief role was “different for me — to play that kind of power person.  She has her eye on saving the paper.  In this time of papers going under, she’s grasping.  And she’s got this guy (Dylan Bruno) who’s a real mess but he’s popular and the sports pages are what’s keeping her circulation going.”  Harper’s character assigns rising fashion editor Brooke Burns to give the manchild a makeover to make him more presentable before he goes out on a book tour, and a battle of the sexes ensues.  “I thought it harkened back to Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  Brooke and Dylan did a fun job,” Harper says. 

The actress, whose other recent turns have included playing a judge on “Drop Dead Diva” and the boozy aunt of Teri Hatcher on “Desperate Housewives,” also has her work as a Screen Actors Guild board member keeping her busy these days — and she’s part of SAG’s taskforce to help returning veterans find jobs.

She comments, “The older I get, the more I like being a crone.  You know, the crones were the wise old women of the village.  I don’t have to be cute.”

MEANWHILE:  Harper is looking forward to being on hand for Betty White’s 90th Birthday celebration on NBC Jan. 16.  The two have remained friends since their “Mary Tyler Moore Show” days, and Harper admits she’s in awe.  “Betty is just an incredible woman, still going strong and doing all her stuff for animals.  We see each other, yes, and I often call her for advice.  I’ll say, ‘We found a cat.  Where do we take it?’  And she’ll say, ‘Oh, Valerie, there’s a no-kill shelter not too far from your house…’  And she always knows.  She’s so involved, so on top of it all.” 

NO EXCUSES:  The story of blind high school football player Travis Freeman is getting the movie treatment as “Sight Unseen.”   The film is now planned to begin production in early April in Kentucky, where the real story took place in the 1980s and 90s.  Patricia Clarkson and Dylan Baker are set to star, and the cast is being filled out.  When he was 12, Freeman nearly died and lost his sight in a battle with bacterial meningitis — but that didn’t stop him from playing center for the Corbin High Redhounds.  He claimed blindness could even be an asset, in that opponents couldn’t use visual techniques to fake him out.  He ran sprints, thrilled and inspired his teammates with his willingness to try anything.  Good story. 

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Large guys rule in “Take Down the House,” a comedy feature now in preproduction that’s being referred to as a “revenge of the fatties.”  It’s about four young overweight dudes glad to have left their high school bullies behind and moved on to college, only to find a frat pack waiting to humiliate them.  But this time, they’re not taking it anymore.

‘Man-bassador’ Stacy Keibler Keeps Widening Her Range

Stacy Keibler

Stacy Keibler says she had a ball doing red carpet and backstage interview duty as Spike TV’s “Man-bassador” at its Guys Choice Awards of last week. So much so, she’d love to do more such chores.

“It was different to be on the other side of things,” says the famous WWE Diva-turned-“Dancing With the Stars” standout. “I had a lot of respect for the people on the red carpet and didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with questions, but this was more laid-back. We were able to have a lot of fun.”

The leggy blond has two movies coming up: “Dysfunctional Friends” that she describes as “a dark comedy about a group of friends who’ve lost touch since college.  ” Their very wealthy pal leaves them a vast fortune — on one condition. “They have to live in a house together a certain amount of time. They’ve gone on with their lives. They don’t all get along. There are ego issues. My character is a gold-digging, kind of a little bit of an easy girl, I guess you could say, out for the money and the athletes.”

Stacy’s other movie is Hallmark’s “Fixing Pete” with Dylan Bruno and Brooke Burns. “Brooke and I play best friends. She’s a journalist who has to make over this guy. And I’m a supermodel, who, once she makes him over, falls in love with him.” The ladies were fast friends off camera as well as on, according to Stacy. “Brooke is such a fantastic woman. We had a great time every single day on the set.”