Twenty years ago, Tori Spelling starred in the NBC telepic Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? — a movie so silly and absurdly titled that it was destined to be a cult classic. And like every cult classic, it was destined to be remade decades later.
On June 18 at 8pm ET/PT, Lifetime (who else?) premieres a new version of the movie, this time executive produced by and starring James Franco (who else?). Spelling is back, now as the titular mother who must prevent her college-age daughter from, well … you know. But this isn’t your mother’s Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? The “danger” is now a same-sex relationship with a vampire. Original star Ivan Sergei also returns in an unspecified role, and Franco’s part in the movie is a secret we can’t wait to uncover.
Spelling filled us in on her time with Mother, May I? both past and present:
It’s been 20 years since the original Mother, May I. Looking back, what did that cult favorite movie do for your acting career?
Tori Spelling: TV movie Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? is what fans ask me the most about only 2nd to 90210 throughout my career. Over the last 20 years and still to this day, weekly people come up to me and say “Donna Martin Graduates” or “I love Mother, May I Sleep With Danger!” And then they say, “best title ever!” I honestly think it’s a cult iconic TV movie from the title alone. I’d like to give credit to my performance for making it a cult classic, but it’s the title. In fact, before I even read the script I knew I had to take the offer for the original. Built-in hit! Although the movie itself was a perfect blend of camp and relationship drama to create a must see ’90s TV movie. It’s definitely a stand-out to people on my résumé and apparently a memorable career move.
Did you have any hesitation about doing the 2016 Mother, May I? Did James Franco’s involvement seal the deal for you?
Because it’s such a fan favorite and has become such an iconic camp TV movie, I’ve always hoped it would be remade one day. They don’t make classic TV movies the way they used to. I think that’s why people are still so obsessed with the original ones that did so well in the ’90s. But, when I heard James Franco was remaking it, that did seal the deal. Well, sweetened the idea of it all. I think he’s a very savvy creator. I admire his work ethic and how he takes chances in all genres and formats. If he’s passionate about something, he does it. It was so surreal to hear the pairing of James Franco and Mother, May I?, but so brilliantly random at the same time. I loved it from jump.
What’s it like shooting a Lifetime movie now compared to shooting one in the ’90s?
It was a completely different experience. In the ’90s it was so old-school in the way of artistic approach. Things that worked, they just redid with different actors and different chase scenes. Same scenario. Naive girl. Bad boy. Stalking. Chase. Good girl is saved. Now it’s all up for creative interpretation. Nothing has to be literal for the audience. We can take artistic license. Which is amazing. This time around I felt like I was filming a really cool artsy indie film, not a network TV movie. Was a great experience. It’s beautifully shot!
You’ve done quite a few Lifetime original movies over the years. Is there a particular one that’s your favorite, or do you have any especially fond memories of working on one of them?
I’m not just saying this, but Mother, May I? has always been my favorite. And not just because of the title. As a young girl growing up in Hollywood, it was my first chance to go film away from home. Playing Donna for so many years and working at such a young age, I never got the college experience all my friends had. They got to go away to college. So filming this movie in Vancouver was that to me. I was away from home, living and working on my own. I had my own apartment during filming. It was a growing experience for me, and I loved every second of it. Plus, I got to kick butt! A girl kicking butt in a movie and winning. I loved it. I felt like an action hero! Ha ha!