Nicollette Sheridan on Putting Her Own Stamp on 'Dynasty's' Alexis: 'Fasten Your Seat Belts' (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
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Nicollette Sheridan is making her Dynasty visit count.
The 54-year-old actress made a splash last week as the fabulously vengeful and always fashionable Alexis Carrington, a role made famous by Joan Collins in the original 1980s soap. On Friday's episode, Alexis' unexpected entrance following Grandpa Carrington's funeral throws the entire family into disarray -- in more ways than one. Her grand introduction, though, is just a taste of the wrath she's about to wreak. "That's what she's known for," Sheridan says with a laugh.
Sheridan shared that it was her previous connection with The CW president Mark Pedowitz (he was head of ABC Studios during Desperate Housewives' run), that brought her to Dynasty in the first place. A meeting with Pedowitz and the producers of the reboot left Sheridan, whose last major TV role was Edie Britt on Housewives, excited Sheridan about the opportunity to inject her own twist to an iconic TV character. "We had such a great creative meeting about who this person was and where she was going to go that I thought, 'This is a perfect home for me,'" she recalls.
Ahead of Friday's episode, Sheridan spoke with ET about stepping into Alexis' sky-high heels, the thrill of ruffling feathers for the Carringtons and teases that the freshman finale will be bonkers (did you really expect anything less?).
ET: What did you like about this version of Alexis Carrington?
Nicollette Sheridan: I love how splashy she is. She's a force to be reckoned with. She's driven by power and money, and the dichotomy of the overwhelming desire to protect her children and to have them flourish. Her returning to reclaim what is rightfully hers is going to be -- I wanted to say something naughty, so let me rephrase that. (Laughs.) It's going to be a journey to embrace. Fasten your seatbelts!
Throughout the season, hints of Alexis have been dropped here and there. How exciting has it been for you to inhabit a character as juicy as this one?
She's challenging as a person and for an actress to play her. She's quite obtuse, really. From being this power monger to being this big kind heart who really does love these children of hers. When you fill in everything in between, there's nothing she can or cannot do.
Was it important for you to familiarize yourself with Joan Collins' portrayal of Alexis in the original series?
No, no. I never saw the original Dynasty. No, because this is a modern take on an old story.
Alexis' style has always been an important part of the character and many of her looks are legendary. Did you have any say with the wardrobe?
Yes, of course! It's a collaborative effort. One thing that is wonderful is that Nolan Miller did the costumes for the original Dynasty and his protege, Mark Zunino, who has made quite the name for himself and is a super talented designer, has been making some of the costumes for Alexis. When Alexis first appears at the church, that's a Mark Zunino. It's a wonderful homage back to Nolan Miller in the original Dynasty. [In the next episode,] you get the see the many sides of Alexis and a lot of her crazy outfits, and they get better! Meredith [Markworth-]Pollack is our costume designer and she is fantastic. As you can see, there's a bit of a throwback to the '80s, which, luckily, is very in vogue now. Alexis is very Parisian runway meets Lady Gaga. (Laughs.)
What traits of Alexis do you most identify with?
I'm driven by truth, decency and kindness so I can't say that we're much alike, but I do enjoy all of the different flavors of Alexis to play onscreen and to find the humanity in her.
Which brings me to my next question. Alexis' relationship with her children, Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies) and Steven (James Mackay), couldn't be more opposite from the other. Her dynamic with her daughter is far more contentious than it is with her son. What can we expect to see between Alexis and Fallon this season?
That was one of the things that really attracted me to playing Alexis was the fact that the mother-daughter relationship is so complicated. Fallon is a powerhouse that is lost and when you meet her mother, you understand why. But Alexis has age and wisdom on her side, so she has come a long way so she can impart what she has learned along her rough road to her daughter and it's very important that she has her daughter start to feel again. She's been lost in this pool of power.
You really see a distinction with how Alexis' son, Steven, welcomes his mother into the fold.
Steven embraces her and wants to understand his mother. It's very important for him to have his mother in his life. Fallon's fighting against that constantly.
Will there come a time when Fallon and Alexis mend fences?
You will see scenes that will break your heart.
Alexis also comes into the picture right when her ex-husband Blake Carrington's (Grant Show) marriage to Cristal (Nathalie Kelley) is on the rocks. What can you tease about how Blake handles Alexis' return?
That's also fraught with complexities. There's a big love there and a big loss, and being back in each other's lives brings up the important things that brought them together in the first place -- as well as the deceit and betrayal that tore them apart. It's hard to say whether Alexis truly loves him or truly loves to torture him. (Laughs.)
You seem like you're really enjoying your time on Dynasty. Has this been one of the most fun experiences you've had on a set recently?
I am having a great time! It's like being at Camp Dynasty. Everyone gets along famously. We all go out together. We dine together. We play the piano and sing together. We work together. We enjoy our time and that is huge to me. I just came back from doing choreography [for the finale] and there's a huge fight scene.
How would you describe the roller-coaster ride fans will go on for the rest of the season?
In the last episode, there's going to be a fire, a fight and a wedding. So stay tuned!