Tuesday, 4 March 2014

An Excellent Adventure with Diane Franklin - An interview

"Forsooth this is tighteth," I thought as I adjusted my corset. It dug into my hips and I hadn’t eaten all day, I was starving. 
Finally the director shouted cut and it was time for lunch, but as everyone starting shuffling up to the catering van, I grabbed the chance and nipped to the toilets to loosen my restrictive clothing.

As I was pulling the laces, grunting and wiggling as much as I could to make myself more comfortable, someone exited the stalls saying that she had experience in these matters, I looked in the mirror and to my astonishment I saw Diane Franklin, someone who indeed has a lot of experience with medieval costume!

Diane Franklin, actress and sweetheart of the 80s, staring alongside John Cusak in the 1985 comedy Better Off Dead as Monique, also (and in my view, the best role) Princess Joanna in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Other well-known parts include her first in the 1982 film The Last American Virgin as Karen and the 1982 horror film Amityville II: The Possessiona s Patricia Montelli. Television roles include Bay City BluesMatlock, and Freddy's Nightmares.
Earlier in her career Franklin appeared in TV commercials for Coca-ColaTridentJell-O, and Maxwell House coffee.
In 2012 Franklin published a memoir, Diane Franklin: The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French Exchange Babe of the 80s.
She is also the mother of actress and writer, Olivia DeLaurentis.
Wow, I thought and as she helped me get comfortable and as all respectable girls in the bathroom do, we got chatting... I started with something easy.
You were quite young when you started acting, how did you get into it?

“Oh, I wanted to act ever since I was 4 years old. But I started professionally working when I was 10 with modeling and commercials.My parents were not in the business. I just never lost interest and they listened. ( I go into detail with this in my book.)”

How did you get the part of the princess? Did you have to audition with an English accent?

“I originally went in thinking I was to audition for the Joan of Arc role. In fact, I thought they were having me come in because they knew I did a French accent as Monique Junet from Better Off Dead. Surprisingly, the director and writers asked me if I could do a British dialect, so I just started talking to them using the dialect. They were impressed, but I couldn't figure out why Joan of Arc would talk this way?! That's when they asked me if I could see myself playing a princess. I have to admit I was a little disappointed because I thought it was a much smaller role. Only later  did I realized Joan of Arc had no lines, and I would get to play opposite Keanu Reeves. Yeah, I think I got the better role;)”

Right, I’d waited as long as I could and I just had to ask, What is it like to snog Keanu Reeves?

“Wonderful!! But I have to say I wish we did more takes:)”

As a Brit myself, I am very critical of Americans doing our accent, especially when they mostly sound like Dick Van Dyke... But I have to say, yours was pretty spot on, how did you get to grips with it?

“I first worked with a dialect coach, then later practiced my character by improvising with the dialect. I needed my accent to be as real as possible so that no one would doubt I was a true Medieval babe;) In fact, all the historical character's had to play their roles seriously, otherwise the time-travel jokes would not have worked at all. I think everyone did a wonderful job. Especially, Napoleon and Abe Lincoln;)”

So, what was it like filming with Keanu and Alex? What are they like? 

“Keanu and Alex had the friendship bond of Bill and Ted. They were relaxed, having fun, very approachable, very friendly... Kim and I had a blast site-seeing with them in Italy, (which is where we shot the Medieval castle scenes!)”

Now, I am a huge George Carlin fan, what was he like?

“I love George Carlin. Seriously, he was the sweetest, most polite guy when we were shooting.”

I always find it interesting that a comedian of his... 'style' would play a part in a PG rated film.

“I know, hard to believe! Very shy, well mannered. I was very fortunate to work with him” 

Now it was time to put the rumours to bed… I’d heard that there was a deleted ending? There was a prom scene?

“Bill and Ted finally took us to the prom in San Dimas! Yes, it was wonderful and very cool!! But alas, I think the ending was not where they wanted the boys to end up. I think they wanted them to be back playing music, so they could set up the next movie. I hope someday that scene will be put on as a special feature on a re-release!”

So, it wasn’t a dream!

Why didn't you appear in Bogus Journey? 

“Well... let's just save that information for my book. I have a whole Bill & Ted chapter with personal photos! In the words of Princess Joanna,"it's totally excellent!"”

Have you heard about Bill and Ted 3? 
"I have only heard that Alex and Keanu were the ones who want to make it but no word yet when it will start.
And do you know if it's actually being made?
 I do hope they do it because I think it would attract a huge audience."
Now, you are much more than Princess Joanna! You starred with another of my hearthrobs, John Cusack in ‘Better Off Dead’, I've heard he's a bit 'off the wall', but what was he like to act with?
"John is wonderful, but I do not know his off the wall side. To me John is sweet, shy and has a very dry sense of humor. I LOVED working and just being with John."
You also appeared in an episode of 'Freddie's Nightmares', I interviewed Heather Largenkamp a while ago and she said Robert Englund was lovely, how was he to work with? 
"I never got a chance to work directly with Robert, but I am good friends with Heather even to this day! As far as working working on "Freddies Nightmares" I loved my role as the bride and seductress in "The Bride Wore Red" (on You Tube), but only got squirmish when my character had to play like a ten year old girl with pig-tails. Now THAT was scary!!!"
You also appeared in the ‘Amityville’ series of films...
"Amityville II:The Possession was perhaps the scariest of all the Amityville films because it was based on a true story of a boy who murders his family.
Woah... Did you get spooked in either of these?
 Although, I did not have any super-natural experience, there was a very intense and quiet focus on the set. I have a chapter on Amityville in my book that talks about the incest scene. All I can say, is a lot of people have said to me they love this film. It got re-released last fall in a Special Edition DVD package from Scream Factory with all three Amityville films in it. There are commenties, interviews and special features with Rutanya Alda, director Domiano Damiani, who sadly just passed, and myself."
Now, you went on a date with Scott Baio (in 'Charles In Charge'), but as a young woman in the movie game, starring along side some of the greatest teen idols we had, did you date any of them for real? 
"I never dated Scott, but he did ask me out;) As far as my love life goes, I'm going to have to save that for the next book I write!"
Brilliant!... And who is is the best snogger? On or off screen?
"Ooooh...that is a tough one. I played the love interest so I got to kiss a LOT of guys. I'm going to have to think about that one and get back to you... "
So my dream role would be a princess in a time travelling teen comedy, in which I snog Keanu Reeves. What is your dream role?
"Ah, my dream role in the 80s would have been to play Costanza in the Oscar award winning film "Amadeus"(a role I almost got, and talk more about in my book, "Diane Franklin:The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s" But today my dream role is any film my daughter, Olivia DeLaurentis, puts me in. She is such an amazingly talented writer, director, editor and actress. It is a gift being in her films! (YouTube Olivia DeLaurentis)"
With my corset finally loosened, my stomach noisily expressed my extreme hunger, I suggested that we go and eat to which Diane agreed. It had been a long day and we deserved a good meal. So after checking our hair and a quick lip-gloss reapplication, we left our little meeting place and headed for the catering van, not without one important last question though...
Ok lastly...  If you could visit any period of time, where would it be and why?
"I would have to say "the future", because 1. I would like to see if we have become a more unified planet. 2. Will there be flying cars that take us to work on other planets? 3. Will people be microchipped like dogs? and most important 4. Will there still be chocolate cake?"
Ha... Nice retort I thought... Now to the lasagne.... and maybe a nice slice of chocolate cake…

"Diane Franklin:The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s" is available on Amazon at:


  1. Awww great interview again! Thanks retroladyland! Keep 'em coming! x

  2. When you conserve the planet, you conserve chocolate cake. :D <3