After playing the hair-raising villainess Gretchen “Susan B. Anthony” Morgan on “Prison Break,” Jodi Lyn O’keefe found herself being offered bad girl parts that weren’t nearly as good. So she was particularly pleased, she says, when the Hallmark Channel’s “Class” movie, airing Saturday (8/14), came along. “I’m happy to be the good guy. I haven’t been the good guy in awhile,” she says. “And going from being an assassin to being a mom? I was just so happy they wanted me to do that.”
O’Keefe plays the struggling single parent of a little boy whose frequent asthma attacks have her rushing to be with him – causing her to lose job after job. “She comes from the wrong side of the tracks, she’s not privileged, she has to build her life on her own,” O’Keefe says. Advocating on her behalf becomes the law class project of a wealthy student (Justin Bruening) with a snooty father (Eric Roberts).
She notes, “I’m actually very different from most of the characters I’ve played. I’m actually not very confrontational or very physical, but I tend to get jobs involving stunt work. This character is more relatable to me in some ways.” And even though she’s not a mother in real life, she’s glad “it’s something of mine that my nine-year-old niece can watch for a change.”
Having risen to fame as a teen on daytime’s “Another World” and as Don Johnson’s daughter on “Nash Bridges,” O’Keefe has made note of the fact that early success skewed her view of the industry for awhile.
“I think it forces you to grow up pretty quickly,” she says. “My very first job being a soap opera, being thrust into demanding scenes and long hours – it was an amazing time.”
Any regrets? “None.”
Now Jodi Lyn says it would be nice to find a role that, rather than being a devil or angel, perhaps took a little of each. And if another series came along, “I’d love it.”