Diane Franklin. The Excellent Adventure of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s. Los Angeles, Ca.” OSD Publishing, 2011.
Savage Steve Holland, a director, states when casting for “Better Off Dead”, that he when he saw the author he felt like Shakespeare imagining Juliet. He found her as a “bewitching beauty with the necessary girl next door charm” Franklin portrayed several temptress roles, yet notes they are movies and not her real personality.
The author was born deaf in one ear.
The author’s parents took her to a talent agent at age four, yet the agent didn’t sign her. She studied ballet, tap dancing, and piano.
At age 10, a talent manager Barbara Jarrett signed her after meeting her for 15 minutes. She learned to handle cattle calls by being punctual, patient, and learning to stand still for photographers and seamstresses. She appeared as a model in several catalogues. he learned from Brooke Shields that several people may achieve their goals and that even if someone gets a job you wanted that your abilities will find you other work.
Franklin moved into acting in commercials. As her first commercial, she got the name of the product wrong in early takes. She improved and by age 16 had feature roles in commercials.
Franklin acted in high school plays. There she learned how to project her voice.
The author was cast in her first professional play at age 15. The success of Brooke Shield shifted the previous tendencies which, prior tended to show preteen females as tomboys like Jodie Foster or Tatum O’Neal. The next trend was for more sexy Brooke Shields types, and Franklin was among those who benefitted from this trend.
At age 17, Franklin was cast as a character on the “As the World Turns” TV soap opera. She learned to memorize lines, cry on cue, and handle pressure. She earned about $500 per episode in 1979.
Franklin played several ingenue roles. She believes people remember these roles because the ingenue teaches lessons to the characters and to the audience. She portrayed a female role model character in “Better Off Dead” that demonstrated that a woman could be both strong and feminine.
Franklin filmed a pilot that was not picked up by a network. She learned how to perform comedy and the importance of comedic timing. She won the lead in a TV movie This have her a good TVQ, a rating based on viewership. This led to more roles. In one role she lied about being a good swimmer. When she got the role she quickly hired a swimming instructor to teach her to swim.
Franklin notes “my best acting came when I am totally focused on the work.”
Her first role requiring nudity was in the movie “Last American Virgin”. She fought nerves and found the filming experience “anti-climatic”.
Franklin liked being in “Amityville II: The Possessio” and even enjoyed playing dead. She found the incest scene “unsettling” as she felt her character lacked emotions. She portrayed the role as in a trance.
Savage Steve Holland, as a director, considered ideas from others. He agreed to Franklin’s idea that she be blindfolded when being brought into a burger joint in “Better Off Dead”, giving the scene more appeal.
“Terrorvision” was a movie that used a monster that was constructed. Actors liked performing with a visible monster rather than a green screen. A problem developed during filming in July heat that tended to melt part of the monster.
Dino De Laurentiis was involved in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. He did not grasp the humor and let others who better understood the move take over.
Franklin believes her roles in many of her 1980s movies had a message that one should “Dare to be different” She notes the prevalent roles of females being “helpless or gullible” shifted then into roles portraying woman as more “outspoken and strong”.
The ingenue was “passive” in the 1980s and was portrayed move “prepared” in the 1990s. Women were presented as having more empowerment in 1990s movies.T