If you grew up in the 80’s, and was a guy (or maybe even a girl) then you probably had a crush on Diane Franklin. She started her film career with “The Last American Virgin” and from there took over the 80’s in film. She was in films like “Amityville II: The Possession”, “Better Off Dead”, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “TerrorVision”. Media Mikes had a chance travel back to the 80’s with Diane, chat about her films and most importantly her new memoir, “Diane Franklin: The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s”.
Mike Gencarelli: What made you want to write your memoir, “Diane Franklin: The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s”?
Diane Franklin: When I decided I wanted to write a book about my career. I looked back and I realized that I have done so much. I also look back and I think how 80’s it was. The films that I did were popular but more on a cult popular aspect. My kids are teenagers now, but when they were young they were my top priority. You always think about passing things on to them when they get older. They won’t know me as Diane Franklin. I am mom to them. Even though I did so much work in films. My role in the business was also very unusual. I started so young and I worked in various aspects of the business. I thought to myself that I need to write all this down. Firstly, since I wanted it on paper before I forgot it all [laughs]. I was in what movie? The other thing was that I wanted my kids to know my life before I was mom. Nobody can tell that story. My husband can’t tell it. My friends can’t tell it.
MG: How did you end up self-publishing the book?
DF: At the time when I wrote it, it wasn’t like I was on a show and someone approached me to write it and sell it. Most of the time know when people write a book today it is because they are on a show and it works with their current popularity. People will buy it just based on their name. For me, if you know me or my films, I thought people are really going to love to go back and finding out what my career was like from my perspective. I was the girl that you feel in love with [laughs]. There was a lot of things that came into writing this book that I think are incredibly interesting, even just from a historic point-of-view.
MG: Tell us about what we can expect from the book?
DF: I took just not factual events but also my personal experiences. I also tried to put a lot personal pictures in there as well. When I am 90, I want to look back and go “Oh yeah, I know that girl”. So this is a memento for my kids and myself but also a great way for fans to look back. It was also very important for me to make the book very accessible. If you love “Last American Virgin”, you wouldn’t have to read the whole book to find out what happened for that movie. I wanted to make specific chapters for each film. There is a “Last American Virgin” chapter, “Bill & Ted” chapter, “Better off Dead” chapter and so on. So people can go directly to that movie and totally get into it. I wanted it to be a book that they could flip through the chapters and make it easy and fun. I am an upbeat person in general and I wanted it to reflect my personality in the book.
MG: What do you feel makes this book unique?
DF: As a parent, a few of the roles I did were rather risqué. So I didn’t want to talk about this…but not that. You would never get to know me as a person or as an actress unless I talked about everything. So I do in fact talk about everything, but what I did is that I rated the chapters [laughs]. So some are rated PG-13 or rated R. So if you are a parent you can still buy the book and have your kids read it and have them skip over the mature sections. But even if they did read it, is it not too bad. It just has to do with subject matter that is more mature. There is nothing like this anywhere. There is no book like this out right now. I did the film “Amityville II: The Possession” and that deals with some risqué subject matter, I go very in depth for that chapter. I have gotten such great feedback from people that love the horror genre because it is coming directly from me and they are getting an inside scoop on it. I am also not holding back with what I talk about.
MG: So where can people pick this book up?
DF: You can only get it right now on Amazon.com (click here to purchase the book) and it is also available to download on your Kindle device. If you buy the book on Amazon and then add me as a friend on Facebook and look for the black and white photo of me from “Better Off Dead”, you can send the book to me and I will sign it! So there are advantages to being a friend with me on Facebook [laughs].
MG: Being from Long Island, I have to ask about your role in “Amityville II: The Possession”; anything strange occur during shooting?
DF: I actually talk about that in the book. The thing is that because we didn’t shoot it in the house itself, I am sure if we shot at the house it would have had a more eerie feeling. When you are shooting a movie, each one has its own tone or feeling. But when we shot this movie, the tone was definitely somber, even though we all got along. We all worked really well together though. The director, Damiano Damiani, was very calming and as an actor you follow the director. For me as an actress I totally got what he wanted to do on the film. Here is a great “Amityville” story actually. When I saw the film for the first time in Long Island, I was with my friends and I actually got carded going into the movie. I was like “Hello? I am the reason why it is rated R” [laughs]. How ironic was that!
MG: “Better Off Dead” is a film that I always loved growing up with as a kid; how does it feel to have influenced numerous people’s lives?
DF: Oh my God! That is amazing. You never know how you will be remembered. As an actress you just do your work. So many people have seen this film and it is one of those films that has really resonated with people. They will watch it and then pass it on to their kids as they grow up. It actually started as this underground college film in the beginning and developed this word of mouth. I was just so happy that people got to know me through that character. It was a good role and also a good role model. It was also totally 80’s and hilarious. I just feel so blessed and grateful for this film and everyone’s love for it.
MG: Why do you feel that 80’s films are just as popular today if not more then their original release like “TerrorVision” and they have this continued cult following today?
DF: What is that all about? Seriously? [laughs]. You never know how a film is going to do. I never expected these films to have another life down the line on Blu-ray etc. “TerrorVision” was hilarious. When we did it we thought it was a hip movie that was very funny and also campy. We thought it was going to do well. It was like a live-action cartoon. But I think since it was rated R when it came out and I don’t think it found its audience. But today people still watch it and love it. So it’s great!
MG: Recently you have been working with your daughter Olivia DeLaurentis, who has been directing films; how was this been for you?
DF: My daughter makes films and has been since she was little. She won her first film award when she was 12. She was at the Los Angeles Film Festival last year. She writes, directs, acts and edits her own films. This is not one of those “well her mom is an actress and probably helps her”. No, no, no, I wouldn’t do this to a child. She works very hard and for Olivia this is her passion and she loves it. If I had any influence it was that when they were young, I used to do comedy improv and used to involve my kids. We also just came back from the Soho Film Festival with her film “My Better Half”, which I was in. She is 16 now and her film was selected and is competing with adult films…not ‘adult’ films but against other adult filmmakers [laughs]. It is just amazing. She already has a feature script and she is ready to go! So keep an eye out!