Women with pasts live at '2000 Malibu'

August 21, 1992|By Diane Joy Moca | Diane Joy Moca,Los Angeles Daily News

Baby boomers are taking a back seat to the MTV generation on the small screen these days, as more and more network series feature characters in their 20s.

Spelling Television is responsible for producing many of these shows, including "2000 Malibu Road." The new drama can be seen at 9 p.m. Sunday [on WBAL, Channel 11] before moving to its regular Wednesday time slot. In keeping with the youth theme of other series from Aaron Spelling's production company, the show follows a group of young female roommates sharing a spectacular beachfront home in Southern California.

"It's definitely a sensual show," described creator Terry Louise Fisher, who serves as executive producer of the summer series along with Mr. Spelling and Joel Schumacher. The combined experience of these three is impressive. Ms. Fisher is co-creator of "L.A. Law." Mr. Schumacher directed such feature films as "Flatliners" and "St. Elmo's Fire." Television veteran Spelling is executive producer of "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place" on Fox, as well as two new series on the fall schedule -- "The Heights," about a band of young musicians, and "The Round Table," centering on a group of friends fresh out of college.

These career successes convinced "2000 Malibu Road" star Lisa Hartman to return to weekly television. "I did say I don't want to do a series after Knot's [Landing] ended five years ago," recalled Ms. Hartman, known to viewers as Ciji Dunne and later Cathy Geary on the long-running prime-time soap opera.

"I knew this wasn't going to be [gratuitous] because of Joel and Terry. I knew they'd write about real women. They're complicated women. It's adult stuff. I have mixed feelings [about children watching it]. We deal with sexual situations and deal with real life problems."

Ms. Hartman portrays Jade, a former high-class prostitute who is forced to take in three roommates in order to afford her home after leaving her profession.

Perry, played by Jennifer Beals of "Flashdance" fame, is a public defender recovering from the death of her fiance.

Seventeen-year-old former child star Drew Barrymore stars as Lindsay, a young and naive aspiring actress.

Tuesday Knight portrays Lindsay's manipulative manager and sister, Joy.

The four very different women share one thing in common: They are each overcoming secrets from their past and taking new directions in their lives.

"I have skeletons in the closet. We all have secrets," Ms. Hartman said. "Jade's childhood was a nightmare. Her mother was very opportunistic and married a wealthy man. Her mother turned her back on child abuse [at the hands of her step-father, which caused Jade to] shut down emotionally.

"I did research. I talked to two [high-priced call girls]. I talked with psychologists who worked with them. They all come from abused backgrounds.

"Some viewers will be [bothered by Jade's history as a prostitute]. You don't have to like her, but they will grow to accept her," Ms. Hartman said. "I like playing her because she's made this choice. She's brave enough to do that. It's a big risk. She's decided to swing without a safety net.

"She doesn't trust anyone. She's never had relationships like this. I never had a group of girls who would all go out and do things together. In this show, it's the first time there's that camaraderie. It's a first for me and a first for her," Ms. Hartman added.

Despite her newfound friends in the cast of "2000 Malibu Road," Ms. Hartman devotes as much time as possible to her best

friend and husband, Clint Black. The native of Houston, and her country singer mate split their time between their homes in Hollywood Hills and Nashville. That is, when he's not on a concert tour and she's not taping a television show.

"Most of his year is on the road. I toured with him. If [the series] did start to create a problem, we'd make adjustments," Ms. Hartman said. "I love him first and foremost. He's the most important thing in the world. I never thought I'd get married, but I love being a wife."

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