Ilana's Interview with Faye Grant aka Juliet Parrish

 

(Special Thanks to Tamie Kwist for typing this up!)

An Interview with Faye GrantÖ. 1/5/86

FG= Faye Grant PG= Patrick Gillease IR= Ilana Rapp

PG- Are they making another one (V) that you know of?

FG- Well, they are talking about it still.

PG- But thereís nothing definite yet?

FG- Oh, well they called Michael Ironside last week and they said, "Would you mind doing another 4 hours so we can put it into syndication?" Right now itís sort of in limbo because they didnít do enough to legally bring it into syndication. And he (Michael Ironside) said, "Yeah," he would, but only if I was in it.

PG- Are you going to?

FG- Well, there are a lot of things that would have to be done. I wouldnít jut do any show because I was very disappointed in the series.

PG- Yeah, so was I. It was a shame.

FG- I was very disappointed so. Thereíd have to be a lot of stuff put back in. You know, it changed hands. I did it originally because Ken Johnson is one of my closest friends and he sent me the treatment and I said, "This is great. This is inspiring and it really means something."

PG- Right. And I remember watching the opening one. The first two episodes were fun to watch.

FG- Yeah. It was a novelty.

PG- But then after that it was like a Saturday morning cartoon.

FG- It was like "eat the rodent of the week" you know, "and letís see how grotesque we could get." I was very disappointed in my character and what happened to my character.

PG- They split up Julie and Donovan, completely. That didnít make any sense at all.

IR- Yeah. What happened there?

FG- Well, what happened is that they (the network) were really afraid that if they put them together they would dissipate somehow. The networks are really crazy that way. Like what happened to "Cheers" when they got together. So when they keep them apart they think thereís a tension thatís created. Thatís just a surface way to look at it. And thereís another way to look at it too.

PG- Do you think it picked up after the format changed? I mean, I missed the characters they dropped, but I think that the stories got better. It still wasnít as good as the original. But it was still entertainment. There was nothing really to sink your teeth into.

FG- Yeah. But to me, if we were to do it again, we would have to really bring the story back to what it was really about. What the network does is they say, "Well, we want high concept things." Well then you say, "Well, what the hell is Ďhigh concept?" And they say, "Well ya know it works when they eat those rodents and it also works when you go around firing guns." "Well, we have to have a reason." "No you donít! Just fire the gun." Thatís their attitude. So I wonít do it under those circumstances."

PG- Was it true that they were going to renew V, but that Warner Brothers messed it up? I heard a rumor that NBC was going to renew it, but Warner Brothers messed up the deal because they wanted more money from syndication. Is that true?

FG- Well no. It was really a combination of rating. It was really mostly ratings. They talked about renewing it which I would have not gone on with it. Not the way it was. I was very disillusioned in the way it was so I wasnít going to go on with it. But, they were talking about renewing it (pause). The network, of course, said no" because the ratings were so lowÖ and I felt like the ratings were so low because of the quality. So it was like a vicious cycle.

PG- I thought it was a combination. I mean, thee show wasnít nearly as good as it was when it was a miniseries. But it was also given a lousy time slot.

FG- Yeah, no itís not. Itís the murderous time slot, but what happens is that the networks think if something will work in that time slot, then it will work anywhere. So, itís sort of the testing bit, the testing ground that they give to any new show and which is why a lot of shows donít make it. I think that they have a chimpanzee up in network programming, to tell the truth, pushing the buttons on the computers and thatís how they program things.

PG- Itís interesting that you say that the network was the one that said, "Oh, just keep eating the rodents and shooting the guns," because Brandon Tartikoff made it seem like it was all the producers faults and all Warner Brothers fault.

FG- Well, thatís their job. What happens though that theyíll sit in a room and youíll have like 8 people who really, most of them arenít creative people. Theyíre lawyers, which I mean theyíre creative in their own way, but theyíre not artistically creative. All they have are demographics and thatís what they think works. But it only works from the source from which the demographics came. It doesnít work the other way around. So if you come up with a new idea, the reasons why the ratings would be so high is simply because itís a new idea. A lot of times ití not, itís the nature of the idea that makes the ratings high, so thatís why they think , so what they think is they come at it from a more pragmatic way and they say, "Oh well, itís such and such so letís do another thing with such and such." But the truth of the matter is itís not why it was a hit, itís because it was new. All their jobs are on the line and if they make a choice thatís incorrect they could be out of a job. So they stay in a very safe area. You know, which is what most people do and it doesnít make for anything inspiring, but at least theyíll keep their jobs.

PG- So to round up, do you think that theyíre going to make it (V)? I mean, I know you said itís in the talking stages, but do you think something will finally be done? This is what all the V fans are screaming for. Is there going to be another one? Even if you werenít in it, do you think theyíre going to make another four hours?

FG- Yeah. This is what will happen: if enough people get together and start writing letters to Brandon Tartikoff and to Alan Shayne at Warner Brothers, then something will be done about it; if people start rattling the cages. If not, theyíre not really that concerned with it. They would rather just let it rest and go onto something else. But if the cage is rattled, they wonít be able to stop thinking about it, so, yeah.

IR- Weíve been writing letters to NBC & Warner Brothers ever since the series was canceled and havenít heard anything, really.

FG- What happens is it goes to the V publicity department. Well, there is no more V publicity department. So it just goes into the Warner Brotherís vaults and maybe down into the black hole, Iím not sure. But the issue right now is the network which is Brandon Tartikoff and Warner Brothers, which is Alan Shayne whoís the president of creative development, I believe.

PG- But if they donít make this four hours then that means that they canít put it into syndication?

FG- Right, I donít know. They may legally get around it somehow.

IR- Did you have any formal acting training?

FG- I donít know what that is. What is formal acting training?

IR- Like, did you take lessons?

FG- Yeah, Iíve taken classes for years with different teachersÖ different acting groups and workshops and stuff like that.

IR- The something workshop in Michigan, right?

FG- Well, there was the Barne theater in Michigan. Thatís one of the theaters I worked in. And in Los Angeles there are different acting coaches that I worked with.

IR- What part did you always wan to play.

FG- Oh, God. I donít know. Um (pause)

IR- Juliet, huh?

FG- Well, Julie was really more me. I sort of created her so she was me. Ya know, she was nothing before I knew her. Funny, Ken Johnson actually created her, but I breathed life into her. I guess Joan of Arc, maybe or ya know, one of those rebellious bitches, ya know? (laugh)

IR- Whatís your favorite V scene, from the miniseries?

FG- Well Iíve got to tell you that my favorite scene of all from the miniseries and the series is when Ham and Robin left. Yeah, that was my favorite scene.

PG- Wouldnít that be sad though?

FG- It was very sad, but as an actor it was very fulfilling. But my favorite scene from the 6 hours is when we didÖ Oh, no that might have been from the series too. But it was when we were in Malibu.

IR- The Encapsulator. That was in the series.

FG- Yeah, that was the series and we got to stay up all night and we got to shoot all night. It was the first time I ever really got to do stunt work on the show. And we got to tumble into fire and I got to interact with the guys. But in the mini-series (long pause), I think, oh boy, God. There are just so many of them. Thereís a great scene with Ruby in the first four hours.

PG- When you hurt your hand?

FG- Yeah. Thatís when she (Julie) realizes that to be a leader you just do it. You donít have to be born with any special tools or acquire them. You just do it.

IR- "Fake it. We wonít know the difference." (Rubyís lines)

FG- Yeah. Fake it, you know?

IR- Remember when Donovan and Sean are getting exchanged?

FG- Hmm mmm.

IR- You cover your mouth with your left hand. Okay?

FG- Hmm. Oh.

IR- And you also did it in "The Wildcats". Now are you still half converted or was that in the script or you just did it by yourself?

FG- No. In the 6 hours it was sort of half converted. But in the series it was justÖ

IR- Well you had your gun in your left hand soÖ (Julie also covers her mouth with her left hand when Willie dies and uses her left hand in many other occasions where she either wasnít converted yet or she was already deconverted.) It was half converted. So you knew about that or you just did it by accident?

FG- Nooo. In the six hours I did everything with my left hand that I would have done with my right hand.

IR- Brushing the hair. (When Donovan and Julie are alone and everyone else is at dinner, before the pumping station scene.) Well, that was in the script though, right? Was that part in the script?

FG- Brushing the hair? (To herself, trying to remember) No that was in the script. But in the 6 hours I just did, cause Iím right handed, I just normally did everythingÖ I trained myself to do everything with my left hand.

IR- Oh. The Lana Turner.

FG- Thatís been put on hold for now. Actually the Lana projects been put on hold until they come up with a better script and they settle on a budget. I may not do it because if they come up with it at the time, I may be doing something else; I might do another play.

IR- On Broadway?

FG- Yeah. Yeah!

IR- How long do you have left of this? (Singiní In The Rain)

FG- I have until June.