Apparently, I’m not the only one hoping that some day Jessica Fletcher will return to Cabot Cove. So is Angela Lansbury. The 85-year-old acting legend, who spent 12 seasons as Maine mystery writer and all-around buttinski, recently told EW that not only would she be open to reprising her role on Murder, She Wrote, she’s stumped why no one has approached her about it. The CBS hit show, which aired from 1984 to 1996, was a staple of the network’s Sunday night lineup and a perennial hit with CBS’ grayer, Matlock-friendly audience. But thanks to Lansbury’s plucky portrayal, a cast of recurring New England yokel characters like Tom Bosley’s Sheriff Amos Tupper, and a deliciously twisty rash of murders that always seemed to follow in Fletcher’s wake, the show found a legion of younger fans, too. (Guilty, as charged).
During a recent interview with EW to discuss her upcoming role in the Jim Carrey film, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, we asked Lansbury if she’d ever revisit Cabot Cove. “Well, I sort of do see it happening when I’m in a dream state,” she says. “The people involved — Universal and CBS — they have to get together. They don’t realize what an exciting thing it would be if we did that!”
But you would be up for it?
“Oh yes! Yes, I would!”
Lansbury, who was nominated for 10 Golden Globes and 12 Emmys for her work on Murder, She Wrote, added that while she’d be game for returning to small-screen sleuthing, she isn’t holding her breath that the CBS brass will see what a potential success they’re sitting on. “I don’t know what it would take to bring it about,” she says. “Everything costs these days. You know how it is.”
As for Lansbury’s actual — as opposed to dream — projects, Mr. Popper’s Penguins marks her first film role since 2005’s Nanny McPhee. The actress, who has kept busy on Broadway, says that there aren’t as many juicy roles for her as there used to be. “Movies are something that I really haven’t been a part of for so long,” she says. “The work on movies is not great from my point of view as an actress. I’m hopeful that one day I’ll be able to play a role where I can really connect with an audience just as I did for years with Murder, She Wrote. I knew that the character of Jessica Fletcher meant something to that audience when they saw her and got involved in these little mysteries that we did. I haven’t had that great movie part yet. I hope to have it! But I don’t want to play a woman who’s dying in bed with Alzheimer’s. I want to play a vital woman of 85 or 86 who still leads a fulfilling existence because there are so many woman around like that.” Wouldn’t it be great if she also solved murders, too?