We loved her as Sydney Andrews on the 90’s sexy night time drama Melrose Place. And now she’s ba-ack! Celebrity Parents spoke exclusively with actress Laura Leighton about her most recent Hallmark film, Mending Fences, her family time with hubby (and fellow Melrose cast mate!) Doug Savant, and her much-awaited return to the most infamous apartment building in L.A.
Let’s talk about your most recent work, Mending Fences.
I play Kelly Faraday, a woman who goes back to her hometown. She’s there to help her mother, who’s ailing. She finds out that there’s more going on in the town than she anticipated, so she decides to stay to uncover the scandal that’s bringing down her hometown.
How would you say you’re similar or different from Kelly?
She’s very committed to her ideals. I think I’m passionate in the same way. If I believe in something, I can be stubborn about it. I don’t know that I’m necessarily the Erin Brockovich type, ready to take on corporations, though! [laughs] I definitely have a passion about my convictions.
We have to mention that your mother in Mending Fences is played by Angie Dickinson. What was that experience like?
She is amazing, a true pro. She’s as beautiful as ever, and a great support. Our first day on the set was one of the toughest days we had. There was a horse riding scene. We filmed very late; she was wet and cold, but through it all a complete pro. It was a great introduction to her.
Did you ride in the movie as well?
I did. It seems like every third movie I do, I’m on a horse!
So you’re a pro, then.
I wouldn’t say I’m a pro by any means! If I didn’t have to do it in a movie, I wouldn’t probably do it, so it’s a treat for me.
What attracted you to the role?
I like Hallmark movies. They have humanity to them. Mending Fences is a nice story that I was able to fit into my life in terms of the shooting schedule. That was attractive to me for all sorts of reasons.
It’s interesting how every working mom works around their kids’ schedules.
It’s true. When I was in my 20’s, I could go out of town for as long as I wanted. My considerations are a lot different now. I like to stick closer to home. Before I take a job, I consider how long the project is, and how many weeks it’ll be.
Let’s talk about your kids. You’re a mom of four!
Yes, Doug and I have four kids. My two stepdaughters are 17 and 16, my son is 8 ½ years-old and my daughter is 4.
What’s it like having teenagers?
It’s an adventure! Our girls are terrific. We have a little bit of everything in our house in terms of the age groups! They keep us busy.
What are they into?
Half of them are super into sports, and the other half are super into their studies. We’re always running to get them to their various activities.
How do you balance it all?
We’re just blessed to have the ability to have some help with the logistics. We have people who help us drive the kids sometimes to their activities. Doug and I definitely share the same values; we appreciate our family time. It’s our priority.
What’s an ideal family day for you?
We tend to spend a lot of days together participating in someone’s sporting event. We all find ourselves there, supporting whoever is competing. We have dinner together often. We’re much more inclined to spend our weekends that way, than to go out.
I’ve been dying to ask you about Melrose! How did you get re-involved with the show?
It was completely unexpected. When they approached me, I was intrigued, and I wanted to see their ideas. It was a great opportunity to get to play the same character after a period of time, to find out who she is now, and what will happen moving forward. It’s very cool to explore that.
How is this Melrose different from the original series?
It’s a continuation, which I love. There’s a whole new young cast who has moved into the apartment building. The show explores the idea of what the 20- something’s are looking for in their lives and how far they’re willing to go to get it. It’s a universal theme that a lot of people can relate to. The show is darker and a bit edgier than before. It’s modern, and it’s also shot beautifully. It’s a fun thing to be a part of.
You’re the landlord now of Melrose. Do you find that you take on the Momma Hen role with the cast?
[Laughs] Yes! When we were doing some publicity for the show, we spent time together going from place to place. We were getting into and out of our van a lot. We’d get to yet another place, and I would say to them, “Does anybody have to go potty?”
That’s so funny!
It became the running joke. “Does anybody have to go potty? You should try; now’s the time!” I am the mom of the group. Sometimes, they’ll ask me, “Laura, do you have any ChapStick?”, and I dig deep in my Mommy bag to give them some.
Will Doug come back on the show?
I don’t know. He has a full-time job! [laughs] It could be kind of complicated. I’m sure it would be something he’d be open to considering.
Wait, didn’t Sydney die at the end of Melrose?
Well, Sydney was presumed dead.
Ah, yes, that’s very different!
Yes, it is! They had all sorts of plans and ways for her to come back. And Sydney has a lot going on this season; I don’t even know about half of what’s planned for her!
Just tell me this: Is Sydney as good as ever? Because you had some very good moments.
I can tell you this: Sydney is better than ever!