Diane Franklin’s new book, “Diane Franklin:The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s” is a look back at a career of one of the most amazing actresses to come out of the MTV generation.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been thirty years since Diane’s first feature film role in “The Last American Virgin”. The raunchy sex comedy about three friends who were trying to…. well, you know what they’re trying to do.
But, aside from their testosterone fueled quest and Diane’s innocence, for me no single movie exemplifies a slice of the 1980′s better than LAV. When you see the fashions and hear the soundtrack laden with songs by U2, Journey, The Cars and REO Speedwagon; timeless classics now but back then, songs that were fresh and new, it just takes you back. Back to a time of complete innocence.
The thing about Last American Virgin is that it’s not just a movie, it’s a slice of time. And whether it was her beautiful smile or curly locks, I still found a way to forgive Diane for the horrible choice she made at the end of the movie.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Diane about her amazing book and career. The enthusiasm she has for her written word is matched only by the talent she has as an actress.
goJimmygo (gJg): To this day whenever I watch The Last American Virgin, it’s almost like being in a time machine.
Diane Franklin (DF): I agree. LAV brings that 80’s generation back to their teen years. At the beginning of the 80’s, movies that were made had such a rawness to them. The films were real gritty and even the subject matter was grittier. Then in the mid 80’s, movies started to become more polished and upbeat. I’m so happy that I was chosen for that role. Even though it’s a sex comedy, there’s something that rings true about it, and it doesn’t leave you.
gJg: LAV was also your first feature film as well.
DF: Yes it was. I had actually been auditioning for years prior to getting the role. I was doing good readings but things just weren’t happening. They’d always hire a lead who was someone with a “name’ or some notoriety. And I wasn’t getting the smaller parts because I couldn’t play the best friend; I was told I was too “noticeable”. For my first role to be a lead was just meant to be, and it was a big break for me in my career.
gJg: What made you decide to write a book about your career?
DF: My daughter used to have a crush on Jemaine Clement, a musician and actor. One day, we actually had the chance to meet him and she was in heaven about it. I said to myself, “Look at the happiness that this man brings, and he has absolutely no idea.” I’ve always been recognized a lot and decided it would be great to write a book as a way to give something back to people.
I came to the point of view where I had an “excellent adventure” and was an 80’s “babe”. I found words that were indicative of the 80’s but, I also wanted to talk about everything I’ve done in my career; both the good and the bad. This book exemplifies both my life and journey as an actress. What’s also unique about it, aside from the stories about my journey, is that it also lets you look back and see what the 80’s were really like. There are really are no other books like it. If you know me, you’re definitely going to be into my book. If you don’t know me, but you love the 80’s you’ll love my book anyway!
DF: It felt natural to write and everything just fell right into place. I wanted to make sure I wrote it from my point of view and not someone else putting my thoughts in their own words. This is me. When you read it, it feels like you’ve been sitting with me in Starbucks having a conversation [laughs].
gJg: Where can people get a copy of your book?
DF: Right now, you can get it on Amazon and there’s also a Kindle version of it available as well. Eventually, I’m going to try for a wider distribution.
Do you have any appearances coming up?
I’ll be at New York Comic Con in October. It’s sort of a bizarre schedule but, I’ll be at the Javits Center in NYC Oct 12th from 4:15 – 5:15pm and Oct 13th from 10:45 – 11:45am. In addition to signings for my book, I’ll also have photos from my films available and be taking pictures as well. It will be a great time and a lot of fun.
gJg: Have you stayed in touch with any of your cast mates?
DF: I have. In fact, I recently hosted a radio podcast for CRAGG called, “Babes of the 80’s”. I brought in people I had worked with and we talked about the movies we did together. I had Amanda Wyss and E G Daily from “Better of Dead”; Kimmy Robertson and Winnie Freedman from “Last American Virgin” and Kimberley LaBelle Kates from “Bill and Ted”. It went really well.
This time around, I’m planning to do a Halloween Special with Horror Babes and bring in some friends I know who’ve acted in other shows. There are so many beautiful 80’s actresses and it’s so much fun to get together and reminisce.
DF: I’ve just finished doing commentary with Tony Ginnane for the Blu Ray release of “Second Time Lucky”. The other thing I’ve been involved with is acting in my daughter’s films.
She’s an amazing writer and director and actually won her first award when she was twelve. I play the voice of the computer in a film she did called “Humanized“. It was recently in the Future Filmmaker category for the Los Angeles Film Festival. She’s also completed another film called “My Better Half “.
I’ve heard rumors of a Last American Virgin remake. What do you know about this?
DF: Good question. Brett Ratner actually talked about me on The Howard Stern Show not too long ago and discussed his desire to do a remake. I understand why they would want to do it for another audience and also probably because of the way the original film ended. That’s the reason we all remember it so well.
It would be interesting to see what became of Karen.
DF: I think people might go crazy if I was in it. [laughs]. It would be interesting to tie it together and bring some kind of closure to the original movie. It would also be cool for people who grew up with the film to watch it and get that nostalgic feeling again. We’ll see.
1980’s This Or That With Diane Franklin….
Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday The 13th?
DF: Nightmare on Elm Street, because I was in and episode of Freddy’s Nightmares: The Bride Wore Red.
The Go Gos or The Bangles?
DF: That’s a tough one. I’d have to say Go-Gos, but I do like The Bangles too.
Love Boat or Fantasy Island?
DF: When you say it, the imagery just pops into my head [laughs]. Hmmm, The Love boat had some funny skits. I’ll go with that.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Porky’s?
DF: Even though I worked with Roger Wilson in “Second Time Lucky”, I’d still have to say Fast Times.
A Rubik’s Cube or a Pet Rock?
DF: Pet Rock [laughs]
Finally, REO Speedwagon or Journey?
Journey – Although every time I hear that song I think, “Uh oh, I wonder if people are thinking of that scene I was in?” [laughs].
Article first published as Diane Franklin’s Excellent Adventure on Technorati.