Ladies Of The ’80s Star in Lifetime Holiday Movie
“Fasten your face-lifts, ladies, it’s going to be a bumpy weekend,” warns Falcon Crest superstar Morgan Fairchild to her fellow castmates — Dallas’ Linda Gray, WKRP in Cincinnati’s Loni Anderson, and Knots Landing’s Donna Mills and Nicollette Sheridan. These iconic stars are all playing a tongue-in-cheek version of a diva in Lifetime’s adorably funny and heartfelt original film Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas.
The ladies star as five glamorous actresses who gather to film the final Christmas episode of their long-running soap opera The Great Lakes. Wrangling this group, however, proves to be no easy task (as can be true in real life, too) and the responsibility falls to the soap’s producer, Alex (Travis Burns), and director, Nell (Taylor Ann Thompson). These two have their own past as well, which adds a little romantic spark to the diva drama.
“We think we made a movie that gives everybody what they expect in a Christmas movie, but a lot more,” tells executive producer Larry A. Thompson. “We’ve sprinkled it with old memories from these ladies, and young love.”
Also sprinkled in are glorious diva moments that include over-the-top slap fests, pool pushings, an epic food fight and plenty of fun zingers (“Wheel over the liquor cart, Christmas tea ain’t gonna cut it today”), as these TV icons show what living like a Hollywood superstar is all about.
Thompson, who’s managed several stars over his long career, approached friend and client Donna Mills first with the idea of a lighthearted reunion film. Most of the stars are now in their late 70s/early 80s, and all had their own reasons for agreeing to do the film.
“It’s not easy putting together this much talent,” Thompson says. “Each of these ladies saw this as an opportunity for all of them to work together. What we had to carefully do is draft a story, a script, where they all came off equally important in the movie.”
Mission accomplished, as each of the ladies shines in their respective roles.
“We had fun making a movie where we are winking at the audience the entire time,” Thompson adds. “One could possibly think this is a true story, this is their real life, but it’s not. But it’s close sometimes! And you’re guessing, ‘Is that real? Is that not real?’ So that’s fun.”
From the start there’s conflict, as Mills’ character Dana hasn’t spoken to Sheridan’s character Juliette for years. And Dana likens herself to Mother Teresa! But it’s nonstop fun with plenty of surprises (Gray’s onscreen husband is played by her former lover from Dallas, Christopher Atkins).
“They made fun of themselves. They were over the top. They showed you how a diva can get carried away,” Thompson laughs. “That happened throughout the movie. And of course, we have an epic food fight. I mean, epic. I think anyone who sees this is going to go, ‘Oh my Lord, how did they shoot this?’ [The gravy being poured over Sheridan is something to see!] Especially when I told them when we started, ‘We’re only going to shoot the food fight once because we don’t have time for all of you to go take a shower, redress and do this thing. So, we got one take at getting this right, but I want you to throw everything you can at everybody you can.’” And what a merry old time they had.
Original Film! Saturday, December 2 on LIFETIME