It’s been 20 years since NBC unleashed “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” on an unsuspecting public — which, in turn, crowned it one of TV’s all-time cheesiest movies.
In a good way.
So when the movie’s original star, Tori Spelling, heard that Lifetime was remaking the movie — with quirky actor James Franco producing, no less (he also has a small role) — she says she didn’t hesitate to board the crazy train.
“No, not at all, just because outside of ‘90210’ this is the project in my career that I get asked about the most,” says Spelling, 43. “I’m sure it’s almost entirely based on the [movie’s] title … but people ask, ‘When are you going to get back together with the gang and remake ‘Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?’ It’s my favorite cult classic.’”
Well, two members of the “gang,” Spelling and Ivan Sergei, are back for this over-the-top re-imagining (story courtesy of Franco) — though in far different roles.
[In the original, Spelling played Laurel Lewisohn; Sergei played her creepy boyfriend, Billy Jones.]
In the 2016 reboot, Sergei has a small supporting role as a literature professor, but Spelling is front-and-center as Julie Lewisohn, whose college-age daughter, aspiring actress Leah (Leila George), is in love with lesbian vampire Pearl (Emily Meade). Pearl, in turn, is trying to “turn” Leah into a fellow “Nightwalker,” a group of (mostly women) vampires who target (mostly) abusive men. But she’s conflicted.
Hey, it’s complicated.
“When I pulled up the script on my iPad, and it said ‘Lifetime Lesbian Vampire Movie by James Franco’ I literally said, ‘Oh my God!’ out loud,” says Spelling, who admits her on-screen role as Julie is, well, perhaps a tad young to be the mother of a college student. [Spelling and husband Dean McDermott have four kids.] “It was a little bizarre, at first, playing a mother of that age,” she says. “You always hope, as an actress, that you can go into [playing someone that age] gently, first as a mother to a baby, then to a toddler. Only for this movie and for James Franco would I play a mother of this age.”
But, Spelling says, she’s adjusted to her more “mature” role.
“It’s funny. I had moments on the set where I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not the lead ingenue anymore like I used to be in these types of TV movies.’ It’s interesting to kind of step back and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m the mother.’ I can flash back to all the great moms I had in all those TV movies … but there’s a disconnect between the generations,” she says. “The younger generation [on the set] tended to hang out in a big kind of high-school feeling. I thought, ‘Can I still fit in?’ I had some of those feelings. I’m a girl.
“But at the end of the day I was so happy to go home to my kids. Twenty years ago, I could’ve worked 24 hours a day.”
“Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” airs Saturday on Lifetime.