Interview with Richard Shapiro of "Dynasty"- Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Laurie Flesch

Krystal, Blake and Alexis from "Dynasty"

Interview with Richard Shapiro, creator of "Dynasty" January 23, 2011.

‘Dynasty’ – the prequel

‘Dynasty’ creators Richard and Esther Shapiro are currently writing a prequel to the popular nighttime soap.  The new ‘Dynasty’ film will focus on the early years of Blake and Alexis Carrington.

I spoke with Richard Shapiro last week about this exciting new project.  Shapiro also answered some questions about the original ‘Dynasty’ series that so many of us still love.  

Q. Where did the idea for the original ‘Dynasty’ come from? 

A. ‘… One thing that’s always fascinated Esther … is how the rich live….  What a fascinating thing to have all the money in the world, be able to do everything and anything you wanted to do, break all the rules and still have all the problems that the rest of us have.’

Q. Were any of the original characters based on you?

A. ‘(Laughs) Hardly. ‘

Q. Talk about working with Aaron Spelling if you would.

A. ‘Aaron Spelling was terrific.  We did the show the way we wanted.  We wrote it the way we wanted and we cast it the way we wanted.  Aaron (Spelling) and Doug Cramer were in charge of production and I think they did it beautifully.  At the same time, Aaron had a marvelous sense of casting.  It was his notion to cast Linda Evans (Krystle) … while it was Esther’s notion to cast Joan Collins (Alexis).’

Q. Can you tell the story about casting Joan Collins?

A. ‘At the end of the first season we wanted to bring in Fallon’s mother and Esther wanted Joan Collins.  The network was not crazy about that idea.  Joan Collins had been out of the spotlight….  We got to the last episode (of the season) and Blake was on trial for killing Steven’s lover.  They were in court and the mother (Alexis) was to come in at the end.  The matter (of casting) had not been settled so we took a friend of ours … and we put her in a veil and she stepped into the courtroom in the last shot of the show….  It finally worked out and we got Joan (Collins).’

Q. Talk about John Forsythe.

A. ‘John Forsythe was not the original Blake.  We had originally hired George Peppard.  We had shot most of the pilot … and then there was a writers strike….  When we started shooting again George (Peppard) came to us and said ‘I’m not the guy for this show.’  By that time, John Forsythe had become free….  He was a perfect gentleman….  John was a prince.’

Q. Is the ‘Dynasty’ prequel the story of Blake and Alexis’ relationship?

A. ‘This is their love story because it had to be that way in the beginning – a real love story….  This is a love story and this is the beginning of the dynasty – this is how it got started.  It’s a real love affair.’

Q. Where did the prequel idea come from?

A. ‘My daughter Florie along with Esther came up with the notion….  We had tried with what happened to them afterwards … and we may get to that because our feeling is if this works, this can be a franchise….’

Q. Why do you think this is a good time for the ‘Dynasty’ prequel?

A. ‘People have been asking us about it….  Audiences are interested.  They miss the show….  It seems to be a good time for making movies out of television shows….  This is not a good time for movies in general – I think it’s a tough business.  But branded shows are doing well….  I think people are waiting for it….’

Q. How is the script coming along and can you give us any hints as to what to expect?

A. ‘It’s almost done….  I think you’ll see a lot of surprises here.’ 

*Shapiro published his first novel in September of last year.  The book, ‘Tobacco Brown,’ is available on Amazon. 

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