Ask Alexandra – April 2016
1) Hello my name is Roy I have been a huge fan of yours from the very first episode that you were on Baywatch. I even cried the episode your character died. So now I come to ask my question with the new Baywatch move coming out in 2017 how do you feel about your character being alive and actress Ilfenesh Hadera playing Stephanie Holden?
I am very happy that the character of Lt Stephanie Holden is being resurrected for the new Baywatch movie. It is a funny script and I love that Ilfenesh Hadera is playing the role I originated. I have never met her, but she seems like a lovely person and she has the right aura for the part. And she is tall – at 5’11” she is one inch taller than I!
I am also very happy that she is a woman of color. As the producers of the tv series know, I always lamented that our cast was way too Caucasian. Fortunately, the cast of the movie has much more diversity, with Dwayne Johnson, Ilfenesh, Priyanka Chopra and Yahya Abdul- Mateen II with substantial roles. The very funny comedian Hannibal Buress is in the movie too, but I am not sure what part.
I will be first in line to buy a ticket when it comes out in the summer of 2017.
Thank you for your kind words about my work on the show!
2) I had just recently watched the underrated 8 Million Ways To Die, again. It’s one of my favorite movies. You were so good in it. What was it like, making that, for you?
I loved playing the call girl Sunny in 8 Million Ways to Die because it was way out of my comfort zone. I was usually seen for nice-girl-next-door roles, but the casting director Lynn Stalmaster, who cast me in my first role in the tv movie Paper Dolls, brought me in to audition for this part. I think they kept calling me back because I had an innocence they wanted for Sunny. I remember some tears in class as he worked with me on the scenes for the final audition, because I was so sure I was not sexy enough to play a prostitute. My acting teacher, Larry Moss, told me that if I wanted the part, I just needed to be braver than anyone else. And I was.
That part really stretched me as an actress and forced me to expose a sensual side of myself I only kept for my boyfriend. It was a fantastic experience. Jeff Bridges and Andy Garcia are incredibly kind men and a real pleasure to work with. I just ran into Rosanna Arquette last month and she is a wonderful person too. We played sisters years after 8 Million Ways to Die in the movie Diary of a Sex Addict.
I also learned a lot about the business of filmmaking. We started shooting with only half the script done. My character gets killed on page 60, when she really needed to be gone by page 25, which was why half the scenes I shot ended up on the cutting room floor. The script was written by Oscar winning talents Robert Towne and Oliver Stone, but it was really not ready, so it was being written as we filmed. I recall the pressure to get a finished draft. It taught me that you have to start off with a solid script no matter what, because then it can get very messy in the editing room – which it did: the director, the Oscar winning editor Hal Ashby, was fired in post production (I am not sure why) so he did not even get to edit his movie. The version you see onscreen is SO much different than what we shot! I hated the movie when I first saw it! I especially disliked hat fight scene with Jeff Bridges and Andy Garcia at the end, although I have come to appreciate its authenticity. The chaos in that scene mirrors the chaos on the set, probably. But it is probably more realistic than all those calm, orderly shoot outs we usually see.
I should probably watch the movie again – I have not seen it in decades. I am happy you enjoyed it!