Kelsey Grammer 'Would Have Loved' If Kirstie Alley Was in 'Frasier' Revival (Exclusive)

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Kelsey Grammer promises familiar faces from the original Frasier series will be popping by -- in due time. But one vital cast member from Cheers, the series in which Grammer was first introduced as Frasier Crane, won't be: the late Kirstie Alley, who died in December from stage 4 colon cancer.

Though Alley never appeared in the original run of Frasier, Grammer expressed a desire to have her character, Rebecca, appear in the upcoming Paramount+ revival when he sat down with ET's Rachel Smith while promoting his film, Jesus Revolution.

"I would have loved that," the 67-year-old actor said. "She's great."

"I was talking with the writers at one point and we're casting one of the characters who could arguably be similar to Rebecca, and I said, 'Boy, we need to find a girl much like Kirstie, who had a gift like Kirstie," Grammer remembered. "She was so funny and so wonderful on Cheers. Really great gal."

After Alley's death, Grammer paid tribute to the actress, saying in a statement to ET at the time, "I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter, but I will say I loved her."

The Frasier reboot, which began filming in Los Angeles earlier this month, follows Frasier (Grammer) in the next chapter of his life as he returns to Boston, Massachusetts, with new challenges to face, new relationships to forge and an old dream or two to finally fulfill. 

At the moment, Grammer is the sole returning original cast member from the original series though he hints that Frasier's old friends will come around.

"The OGs are going to be present," he assured. "Yes, we will have some OG presence."

The intention is to launch the new Frasier series with the new cast and once it has found its footing, then dip into the rich well of past stars.

"There are many festive appearances we might be able to rely on but let the show find its legs. Let the folks want to live with this new group of people," Grammer explained. "There's a nice, really, really wonderful group of people in the show. I think the audience is gonna love them."

He next stars in Jesus Revolution, which is inspired by the real-life story of the late Pastor Chuck Smith and based on Greg Laurie's book of the same name covering the Jesus movement in California in the 1970s. Grammer plays Chuck Smith in the movie.

"At this time in my life, I wanted so much to do something that could uplift somebody or connect us all in a way that -- and I’ve been given this huge gift to be a mouthpiece for something I believe in, which is pretty extraordinary," the actor said, getting visibly emotional. 

"We have similar paths," Grammer shared of why he's connected to the man he portrays in the film. "I’m a man... and so I definitely resonate with other men past middle age, whatever it might be. I don't want to put a lot of labels on it because it can come to anybody at any time in their life. When they feel like they're empty or hollow or something they're doing isn't quite fulfilled. So I really, really am drawn to characters that haven't grown up yet for whatever reason."

"And I just love to play guys that suddenly become the full version of who they're meant to be," he continued, "and Chuck just inhabits this role as a man of consequence. All of a sudden, where he thought his life was over, really, in a lot of ways and suddenly the gift of a full life comes to him. That gets me."

Jesus Revolution is in theaters Friday, Feb. 24.


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