The ''Dynasty'' reunion -- Linda Evans, John Forsythe, and Joan Collins revive the glitzy, greedy '80s
Did Krystle snap out of her coma? Did Blake get out of jail? And did Alexis ever recover from that over-the-balcony tumble she took with ex-husband Dex Dexter?
When Dynasty was yanked off the air more than two years ago, many such big, unresolved story lines were left dangling like rubies from Joan Collins’ ears — and now, finally, we’re going to get some answers: On Oct. 20 and 22, ABC will broadcast Dynasty: The Reunion, a four-hour miniseries bringing the Carrington chronicles into the 1990s.
For eight years, from Jan. 12, 1981, to May 11, 1989, Dynasty‘s eye-popping excesses and loopy plot twists made it one of the decade’s highest-rated dramas; in the 1984-85 season, it even beat out Dallas to become the year’s No. 1 show. Fans ranged from college kids to world leaders (both Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger did cameos). Its cancellation — caused by fading ratings and rising production costs that reportedly reached nearly $2 million per episode — marked the death of the opulent ’80s on prime-time TV.
But for two nights, anyway, the Greed Decade will be back, and after visiting the set, we’re happy to report that Reunion has everything that made the original Dynasty such a hoot: outlandish plots, fabulous wardrobes, lavish settings, and even a shin-kicking cat fight.
On these pages, a taste of what you’ll see this week, when Lifestyles of the Rich and Heinous makes its gaudy return.
The evening meal is being served at the Carrington mansion. Blake Carrington stands at the head of the table, his champagne glass raised in a toast to his wife, Krystle, who has just returned from Switzerland, where she was detained by being in a coma for about three years. Seated at the table is the Carrington brood, including Blake’s scheming ex-wife, Alexis (who tried many times to destroy his oil empire), his precocious daughter, Fallon (who once got amnesia and forgot whom she was married to), and son Adam Carrington, who once raped and beat his wife, Kirby.
”I am a very lucky man,” Blake announces to the group. ”Everything a man could want is right here.”
Talk about forgive and forget.
”Don’t try to analyze it,” advises Kathleen Beller, the 36-year-old actress who plays Kirby. ”This is Dynasty. It’s supposed to be fun, not profound. I personally could never figure out why all these rich people who didn’t like each other lived in the same mansion. I’m sitting at the dinner table with a man who raped me? I mean, c’mon!”
Let’s Get Physical
The place: the Merchandise Mart in downtown L.A. Joan Collins, 58, and Linda Evans, 48, are getting ready to film another in their ( series of famous cat fights. In past episodes, Alexis and Krystle have duked it out in a lily pond, a mud puddle, a beauty parlor, and a burning cabin. This time they’ll be mixing it up in a fashion-house workroom — and don’t ask why.
”It would be more interesting if I said that I really wanted to slug Joan,” offers Evans before the cameras start rolling. ”But we’ve never had a (real) fight. Never screamed at each other. We respect each other.”
Standing nearby, Collins is chewing intensely on a piece of gum. ”I abhor violence,” she says. ”I bruise very easily. I dread doing these scenes. I hate them.” She turns to a group of onlookers. ”You’re in my line of vision!” she snaps. ”Stay still as stone!”
For the next six hours, Collins and Evans pretend to kick and scratch each other in a whirling, hair-pulling free-for-all. For the truly demanding sequences in which the characters throw each other wildly about, doubles are often used (though Evans likes to do many of her own stunts). By the time it’s all over, both actresses look exhausted.
”It was the best fight of all,” gushes Evans, nursing a bruised leg. ”Call the chiropractor,” says Collins, sprawled on the floor. ”This is when my back goes out.”
Steve Carrignton, Won’t You Please Come Home
Here’s a familiar face: Al Corley, 35, who played Blake’s bisexual son, Steven, during the show’s first two seasons, and then was reportedly fired for bad-mouthing Esther and Richard Shapiro, the husband-and-wife team that produced the original Dynasty and Reunion. What’s he doing here?
”My leaving the show was more amicable than the media ever said,” Corley says. ”I loved playing Steven. I took playing him very seriously. Maybe too seriously. I wanted the producers to make a commitment to him. I wasn’t happy with where he was going. I didn’t want him to whine all the time, I didn’t want to see him in limbo (about his sexuality).”
But Corley’s replacement, Jack Coleman, wasn’t available for the miniseries (he was filming a pilot for a new NBC series), so the Shapiros decided to give Corley another shot. ”Because he took a misstep once, should we punish him forever?” asks Esther. ”He was doing some things that were unacceptable at the time, but he was young. People change. He is mature now.” So is his character: In Reunion, Steven has resolved his sexual confusion and is now happily gay.
Corley isn’t the only casting change of note: Blake’s snarly son Adam will be played by British actor Robin Sachs (Upstairs, Downstairs), who replaces Canadian Gordon Thomson. And Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbe (The Prince of Tides) will be Alexis’ devious new bedmate, Jeremy Van Dorn. Meanwhile, Dex Dexter (Michael Nader) and Blake’s half-sister, Dominique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll), have been written out of the miniseries script.
No Dynasty episode — or Dynasty magazine article, for that matter — would be complete without at least one mention of terminally cute Heather Locklear…and here she is, complaining about a too-tight pair of jeans. ”I hurt my finger putting them on,” she says. ”It’s an occupational hazard.” As Sammy Jo, Krystle’s hot-to-trot niece, Locklear was often asked to perform saucy scenes, and she’ll be at it again in the miniseries. ”There’s this one scene where I had to drop my pants in a restaurant,” she reveals. ”I was, like, ‘Excuse me — is this woman on drugs?’ But (the director) said, ‘Heather, you’re not the star here. Just read the lines.”’
I Am Not a Jerk
Maxwell Caulfield wants to get one thing straight right now: ”I was not the a–hole everyone said I was.” The actor says he’s appearing in Reunion (as Miles Colby, a character from the short-lived Dynasty spin-off, The Colbys) to ”lay to rest all the gossip about me.” He is referring to all the tabloid reports that he was every bit as difficult on the set as hard-drinking playboy Miles was on-screen.
”I’m told I was a black sheep on The Colbys,” he says. ”But my biggest crime was jogging while (series star) Charlton Heston was shooting a scene. I was jogging on the roof and the soundman called ‘cut’ and Moses got all bent out of shape.”
It’s the end of a grueling 10-hour day, but there’s one more scene to film: a confrontation between Miles Colby and Fallon Carrington (Emma Samms) inside the Carrington mansion. The actors are ready. The cameras are ready. But producer Elaine Rich isn’t ready.
”We need more flowers,” she says, pointing to a vase at the top of the staircase. ”We need more. I can’t see those. Can we get a bigger vase?” Minutes tick by, more flowers are rushed in, and finally Rich is ready to film. ”The attention to detail is what makes this show Dynasty,” she says. ”It’s what (establishes) the ambience of the show.”
Remember all those rumors about bad blood between John Forsythe and Joan Collins? ”Those stories were a crock,” insists Forsythe, who at 73 is reprising his role as Dynasty patriarch Blake Carrington. ”There are some people you connect with, and some people you half-connect with. I’m afraid that may have been the case with Joan. ”But I will work with a ringtail monkey if the monkey has talent — and that lady is very talented.”
It certainly wouldn’t be fair to reveal what happens at the end of Reunion — what improbably bizarre twists the writers have cooked up this time. But in at least one respect the miniseries has, off-camera at least, a happy ending. ”The show changed all our lives,” explains Esther Shapiro. ”I’ve always said that Dynasty was an extension of all our dreams. For good or bad, the show was saying, ‘Life is just a dream.”’
Just a minute. Didn’t Dallas already use that one?
John Forysthe as Blake Carrington
Memorable Moment Going on trial for ”accidentally” killing son Steven’s lover Ted Dinnard.
Saint or Sinner? So he killed a guy and caused his family to be dysfunctional. At least he was a good provider.
Then and Now Was a shrewd businessman; now a softy, grandfatherly type.
Another Reunion? ”Maybe, but not another one-hour series. Not for me.”
Heather Locklear as Sammy Jo Carrington
Memorable Moment Using her feminine charms to ”convert” gay Steven.
Saint or Sinner? She can’t keep her pants on and now has taken up with a married man. (But, after her tough childhood, who can blame her?)
Then and Now Was a humorless slut; now a witty tramp
Another Reunion? ”Sure, I’d love it. Does a leopard lose its spots?”
John James as Jeff Colby
Memorable Moment Becoming disoriented after Adam Carrington tried to kill him by putting poison in his office paint.
Saint or Sinner? He yelled (a lot, in fact), but Jeff wouldn’t know how to break a commandment if he tried
Then and Now Was a shlemiel; now a shlimazel.
Another Reunion? ”Oh, sure. But to me it’s like we never left.”
Joan Collins as Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan Memorable Moment Slapping daughter Amanda silly for sleeping with her husband Dex, and imploring Cecil Colby not to die during their honeymoon lovemaking.
Saint or Sinner? Do we have to ask? Alexis has broken every commandment. Twice.
Then and Now Was and is ruthless businesswoman/slut.
Another Reunion? ”Yes. But not right away.”
Linda Evans as Krystle Jennings Carrington
Memorable Moment Alexis causing her to fall off her horse and lose her baby.
Saint or Sinner? Can’t you see the halo through that cloud of hairspray?
Then and Now Was sweet as sugar; now so saccharine she could be outlawed by the FDA.
Another Reunion? ”Coming back was a comfortable fit. But another series? I’d never say never, but I don’t think it would happen.”
Emma Samms as Fallon Carrington Colby
Memorable Moment Being abducted by a UFO.
Saint or Sinner? Okay, so she’s a nice lady, but can we really forget all those early encounters with the chauffeur, the doctor, the football team…?
Then and Now Was bitter and trampy; now sweet and understanding.
Another Reunion? ”I wouldn’t say no, unless a better project came along.”
Al Corley as Steven Carrington
Memorable Moment Being emotionally torn up at his dad’s murder trial.
Saint or Sinner? He always meant well, but most of his ex-lovers are dead or insane. Draw your own conclusions…
Then and Now Was a confused, angry bisexual; now contentedly gay.
Another Reunion? ”Frankly, I’m enjoying not being in front of the camera.”