Jackie Collins is looking for another miniseries hit with 'Lucky/Chances'

October 03, 1990|By Susan King | Susan King,Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD -- Jackie Collins takes great pride in the story: It's about Chinese officials banning her steamy novels because they feared she was corrupting Chinese youth. But when the soldiers went to confiscate more than 200,000 pirated copies of her books at stores, they came up empty-handed.

"They couldn't find any because they were bought so quickly," Collins said with delight.

Collins' novels, though, are always snapped up quickly. They are sure-fire best sellers and have sold 100 million copies in 30 countries.

Collins makes no excuses for her sexy stories.

"I write very commercial fiction," she said. "I don't think my books do any harm. I don't think they are pornography. I think they are fun sex -- honest sex. I think my books have a moral edge. [French director] Louis Malle called me a 'raunchy moralist,' and I think that's what I am. I don't pull punches."

Men often object that Collins creates heroines who are stronger than the male characters. "They are usually stuffy, uptight men [who object]," she said, laughing, "usually critics. I think men are taken more seriously, especially if they are writing the kind of book that I write. Women have always been criticized about writing about sex. It's taken for granted that a man would do so."

October is a big month for Collins. She is co-executive producer and writer of "Jackie Collins' 'Lucky/Chances,'" NBC's six-hour miniseries, which begins Sunday.

Based on her two popular novels, "Chances" and "Lucky," the three-part drama, which runs through Tuesday, follows the lives of the strong-willed Lucky Santangelo (Nicollette Sheridan) and her equally strong father, Gino (Vincent Irizarry).

Collins' latest novel "Lady Boss," a sequel to both books, is hitting the bookstores as the miniseries airs.

NBC hopes "Lucky/Chances" will lure viewers away from the World Series on CBS. And not just female viewers. "What red-blooded male would want to watch the World Series when they can see Nicollette Sheridan?" Collins asked.

Collins had numerous offers to sell the rights to "Chances" and "Lucky," but turned them all down until NBC gave her the chance to be executive producer and to write the teleplay.

"I was creative consultant on [the ABC miniseries] 'Hollywood Wives,'" she said. "That meant they never consulted me. It's a very good Hollywood trick. They pay you a fee and then they never consult you. The show had great ratings, but it wasn't what I wanted to see on television. It didn't have the heat of the book. It was totally miscast with 12 huge stars who were all wrong for their roles."

To win the rights, NBC gave Collins what she wanted.

"After they green-lighted the script, they started making suggestions for the lead roles, which were major stars," she said. "I said, 'Let's have a fantastic young terrific cast, probably more or less unknown, who are going to be right for the roles. The stars we will put in cameo roles around them.'"

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