Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dr. Quinn and Sully, Together Again

Tonight at the Television Critics (TCA) Convention, at a lovely party thrown by the Hallmark Channel at the Tournament of Roses mansion in Pasadena, I had the pleasure of sitting down to dinner with the lovely and multitalented Jane Seymour.

Seeing how young Jane looks in person (as you can see from the photo, she looks younger than I do), it's obvious why she's played all those "cougar" roles lately on TV (How I Met Your Mother) and in film (Wedding Crashers). She has quite a few more films coming out soon, too, including the comedy Freeloaders, and a dramatic film Lake Effects. And then of course there's her Hallmark Channel film airing tonight: Perfectly Prudence.

The sequel to Dear Prudence, this new film has Jane's character Prudence Macintyre making changes to her TV program, with the help of two new producers: one an old flame, and the other a sleaze making moves on her daughter. But more importantly, here is a sentence rabid Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman fans have been waiting to read: this film reunites Seymour for the first time with her 19th Century love interest, Joe Lando.

As Jane explained, this second Prudence came together quickly; although a script had been written, it hadn't been greenlighted until its producer became ill and the Hallmark execs visited him in the ICU to perk him up with the prospect of production. The wheels went quickly into motion, and the whole thing was shot this past fall in Michigan, in just 12 days. It was definitely a family affair: Jane appears with her real-life daughter Katie Flynn, as well as her husband James Keach, who had directed Dr. Quinn.

One other interesting side note: while filming Prudence in Michigan, Katie realized that the set must be relatively close to Mackinac Island, forever immortalized as the setting for another Jane Seymour fan favorite, Somewhere in Time. So Jane called the Grand Hotel and asked how to get there -- and the place sent two jets, which picked up the entire Prudence cast and brought them to the island for the day. Then, in October, when the hotel hosted a weekend for the film's 30th anniversary, Jane was filming and unable to attend. So she lent Katie one of her costumes, and lent Katie's boyfriend Christopher Reeve's waistcoat from the film, complete with 1981 penny. When they appeared, and struck some of the film's famous poses, "the fans, you can imagine, went completely nuts," Jane says.

I'm actually not sure which fan base is more rabid, in fact: for Dr. Quinn, or for Somewhere in Time. But as Jane pointed out, Mike-and-Sully lovers, if you want to see the two of them together again, watch tomorrow night and boost those ratings. After all, as she said, after those 12 days of shooting were over, everyone was delighted that they'd produced a really good film.

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