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From the Archives: Diana — A Role Model?

Back in 1985 just before "V": The Series made its debut, NBC issued a press kit for the show featuring a number of bios and articles. One of them was called "'V' Intergalactic Bad Girl Diana New Role Model For Today's Woman? Perhaps, Says Actress Jane Badler

Jbv260It takes several hours of makeup to turn Jane Badler, human, into a reptile, as the alien leader of NBC's new series "V."
   But the star of “V” has to undergo a still more startling transformation: from a gentle, peaceable, rather sweet actress into the ruthless, driven leader of an invasion force that seeks to rule the world.
   Despite the differences in their personalities, Badler feels a certain loyalty to the character of Diana, termed the "intergalactic Joan Collins," who is independent and tough..
   "She gives a positive message to women — that they can be very strong and don't have to live for a man," says Badler. "This is something we women are fighting for in this generation. We’re trying desperately to break our emotional shackles; to say we want to be on our own, yet we are scared because this isn’t what we ‘should’ want according to society’s norms. Diana never thinks twice about her independence.”
   But Badler does. “There really isn’t any part of Diana that slips into my personality, but I wish it would sometimes,” Badler explains. “It would be nice to have the strength of knowing what you want and just going for it on your own.
   “The real difference,” Badler says, “is that Diana knows what she wants in life and goes after it like a horse with blinders. I have more conflicts in my life. I have a lot of different kinds of needs, for love and affection.”
   She says it is really fun playing the villainess. “I love portraying the evil lady,” she explains, “but sometimes it’s real strange. After going through hair, makeup and costume each day, I am transformed into this woman who really isn’t me. It’s an escape from my life.”
   Playing the relentless leader Diana is becoming even more fun for Jane as the series begins.
   “In the first four-hour miniseries, Diana was totally one-dimensional,” says Badler. “There was little depth or development of her character at all. Even her way of dress reflected a one-dimensional character. The second miniseries was really much more of the same one-dimensional woman. But now, because of the popularity of her character, Diana’s role has become more complex. On a scale of 1-10, her range of human emotion now rates about an eight. I would love to see Diana have a love affair. It would be fantastic to see what would happen if she lost control for just a little while.”
   In early episodes, Diana is attracted to young Kyle Bates, yet she has never known that kind of feeling. “But,” Badler notes, “I feel that something’s coming on and Diana’s becoming more sexual. I have shed my straight long fall of hair for a wild, more contemporary mane.”
   Jane is best known to audiences for her role on the soap operas One Life to Live and The Doctors. Interestingly, neither role was a traditional daytime “bad girl” character that might be considered a preview of Diana’s role.
   “I always played women who were vulnerable and usually wound up as victims,” she says. “I don’t know what the producers saw in me. I’m not known for my evil roles. I don’t have any of Diana’s characteristics outwardly. Maybe it was my cat eyes. They can get pretty intense at times.”
   Her big break came when NBC talent executives brought her from New York to Hollywood to test for the female lead in The A-Team. She didn’t get the part, but impressed the right people, who later called her out west to audition for “V.”
   At first, Jane didn’t think it would be easy to portray the part of Diana after playing such weak roles. But it turned out to be less difficult than she feared. “I just go through my own mental process of what Diana wants,” she explains, “and I try to get in touch with my alter ego’s feelings — no matter how out of this world they may be.”

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EdGross
3/24/2009

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