Tag Archives: Mary Higgins Clark

Gail O’Grady Living Her Own American Dream with ‘Mystery Cruise’ Possible Series


One-time “American Dreams” actress Gail O’Grady might return to the series game if her Saturday(10-5)-debuting “Mystery Cruise” movie proves successful.  There’s also a chance that the made for television Mary Higgins Clark mystery could launch a series of TV films with O’Grady’s and Michelle Harrison’s characters.

Certainly, Gail is game.  “This was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on.  When I read the script I loved it.  It reminded me of a French farcical kind of madcap movie-within-a-movie that takes place on a cruise ship.  I’ve been a fan of the Higgins Clark books for a long time.  And I’ve loved working for Hallmark for a long time,” notes the actress, speaking of the Hallmark Movie Channel offering.

“I have a great character in Alvirah Meehan, who fancies herself a detective even though what she really is, is a cleaning woman who wins the lottery.  She’s such a character.   She has a wonderful heart, but she kind of has a thing where she leaps before she looks.”  The story involves Alvirah and real private eye Regan Reilly (Harrison) setting sail on a mystery cruise for fun, but of course things take an unexpected turn.  “We got to dress up in costumes and play pretend characters, and then something actually takes place and we have to figure out the who that did what to whomever.”

O’Grady tells us the team shot on a 120-year-old luxury yacht that was once owned by the Boeing family.  “It was called Taconite; the family fortune apparently originally came from mining taconite,” she says.  “We were in Vancouver, though the setting is off the coast of Washington, and it was beautiful.  I’m always grateful when I go to work, but this one was extra special.”

The Detroit-born divorcee, whose long list of credits spans from her years on the classic “NYPD Blue” (as Donna Abandando) through the CW’s “Hellcats” and beyond, is also happy that “Mystery Cruise” is suitable for her eight-year-old son to watch with her.  In fact, many of Gail’s decisions center on her son.  Speaking of combining career and motherhood, she says, “I don’t think it gets easier as kids get older.  It’s more difficult.  When Michael was a baby I was doing ‘American Dreams and I had a nursery and people in support with me.  And then when I was doing ‘Hot Properties,’ I had a nursery and he came to work.”

Now, however, “I don’t have a staff.  It’s me.  I make different decisions now.  I don’t take the offer to go to Morocco for six months.  I take ensemble pieces intentionally.  I take big jobs over the summer, when it’s easier to work with my son’s school schedule.  I have somebody else’s life to consider who is more important than I am.  I still want to be an actress,” she emphasizes, “but more than anything, I want to be my son’s mother.”

She says that when she heard that “Mystery Cruise” was being considered as the first in a franchise of TV movies, “I perked up a little there” because it sounded like a potentially ideal situation.

O’Grady says, “I’ve never been one to say, ‘Oh, I hope my child doesn’t follow in my footsteps.  Acting is such a hard world.’  It is, but I have a positive feeling about our industry.  I’ve worked hard and I’ve been acting for 30 years.   I always think the worst job in our business is still the best gig around  — a dream job, something I wanted to do since I was little.”

And even better when she can have both worlds.

(end it)


Scottie Thompson, Kathy Najimy Mystery Movie Teaming Could Lead to More

Kathy Najimy, Scottie Thompson TNT photo

Scottie Thompson, who teams with Kathy Najimy in TNT’s “Deck the Halls” mystery movie tonight (12/20), says she’d be wide open to reprising her role as Regan Reilly from the best-selling series of novels by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark.  That is especially if she could keep working with Najimy.

“She’s one of my favorite people — really creative and funny.  She infused this piece with so much comedy.  It would be fun to explore our characters’ relationship more deeply,” says Thompson.   

She tells us that she and Najimy would get together between camera calls to put extra work into their two disparate sleuths — her dynamic young detective character, created by Carol Higgins Clark, and Najimy’s cleaning lady/amateur crime solver, invented by Carol’s mother, Mary.  “You could make those little moments, those subtle moments that differentiate a character, really perfect with the right attention.  Kathy and I would sit down at night and make sure we knew where we’d be playing every moment,” says the “Trauma” actress.

“Deck the Halls” is the last of six adaptations of best-selling novels, airing since last month, that have been talked as the network’s attempt to resurrect the TV Mystery Movie genre — with Bill Pullman, Marcia Gay Harden, John Corbett, Carla Gugino, Dermot Mulroney and Anne Heche among the names on board.  Behind-the-scenes talent has been top shelf as well.  “Deck the Halls” was directed by Ron Underwood (“City Slickers,” “Tremors”).

“We were filming at a really fast pace — 18 filming days for a 105-page script,” Thompson recalls.  “I’d worked with Ron Underwood before…He was calm and determined all along the way.”

Carol Higgins Clark was not only on the set, Thompson says, she has a part in one scene as well.

Hot ‘Entourage’ Season Ahead, Grenier Blase About Ratings

Adrian Grenier HBO photo

Adrian Grenier is happy with all the positive reviews so far for the new season of his “Entourage,” which has been widely applauded as back in top form after one of its lesser seasons.  As for reports that the show opened with a 25 per cent ratings drop from last year, well, they don’t even seem to be a blip on his radar.

“I don’t really think about it.  You know, the new media and new technology has changed everything, including how people end up coming to watch a show,” he points out.  “I know a lot of guys who tiVo it.  People wait to for it to come out in a format they can watch.  This show in particular is a very communal show – groups of 20 or 30 people get together and watch it.  So whatever ratings you mention, they’re going to be inaccurate.”

“Entourage” has a lot of changes in store for Vince this season.  “He really comes out of his shell, his protective womb.  I think it was an inevitable turn,” says Grenier.  “He feels like he’s losing his support system, and he has to, for the first time, step out and take care of himself.   He doesn’t initially want to take that responsibility.  He rebels a little against having to be independent. It’s a growing up and coming of age story of sorts.  At the end of the day, he has to grow.”

Grenier says that Ellin “talks to me about the depths I’m willing to go with the character.  I’m fine with it.  I’m a team player.  I want to do everything I can to make the best show possible.”

Mary Higgins Clark

WRITE ON:  America’s queen of Suspense, worldwide bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark, will share  secrets of her craft with guests aboard the Silversea’s  elegant Silver Whisper cruise ship next January and early February. Clark, whose  books have sold over one hundred million copies in the US alone, will give  insights about her writing in lectures and a Q&A session, as the ship glides from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso.  Exciting news for those who are fans of suspense, or simply appreciate a terrific story.

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  With all the talk about whether or not “Red Dawn” will indeed be released in November as planned – considering MGM’s financial woes and possible sale – reshoots are quietly going forward on the film.  Casting was recently done for additional Chinese military characters in the remake of John Milius’ 1984 feature about a rag tag band of teens who stave off a communist invasion of the U.S.  However, Josh Hutcherson tells us the reshoots are “much less than I’ve done for a lot of other films.”   Also still to be done is a soundtrack for the new “Dawn.”