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Lisanne Falk loves talking about dark comedy 'Heathers'

Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service on

Published in Entertainment News

Lisanne Falk had no idea when she was making the dark comedy "Heathers" back in 1988 that 31 years later she still would be talking about the film. The only thing on her mind at the time was just getting the movie made.

"I think if someone imagines that in 30 years people are still going to be talking about this movie, probably they are not," Falk says with a laugh.

There's not only talk by fans of the movie going on, but a 30th anniversary edition of "Heathers" is being released Nov. 12 on Blu-ray. The release starring Falk, Winona Ryder, Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty follows the Heathers, picture-perfect queens of the social scene at Westerburg High that everyone wants to be but also fears. Veronica (Ryder) wants to be part of the group until she meets the school's new bad boy, JD (Slater).

Falk, who already had a career in modeling before getting into acting, had starred in other movies dealing with young angst, including "Say Anything" and "Less Than Zero," before being cast as Heather McNamara, She knew as soon as she started reading the "Heathers" script that the film was very different from anything she had done.

"I had been going up for a lot of 'Afterschool Specials' and 'Movies of the Week,' but as soon as I read this, I knew that it appealed to my dark sense of humor," Falk says. "I knew it wasn't going to be a film for everybody, but it definitely blew my mind.

"I had never in all my years of auditioning for things seen anything that was so subversive in the best way."

The appeal came from the complicated nature of her Heather. On the surface (that generally included Falk wearing a yellow wardrobe) her Heather looked to be one of the young women who ruled the school. But, as more was revealed, Falk got to show that her Heather was vulnerable despite a superficial display of confidence. Falk loved getting to play a character who went from popular to an emotional mess.

Falk also didn't realize when she was making "Heathers" that three decades later she would have her own teenage daughter and that she would use her character to explain how in high school the people who look like they are the most confident are often the most insecure. It's that kind of element that Falk wants people to take from "Heathers" and focus less on how it deals with the topics of depression, bullying and death.

"First, the film was not made today. A millennial saw the film and wrote an article about how this film was not acceptable. It was not made today and commenting on what is happening in the world today," Falk says.

 

"What is universal is teen angst and all the issues teenagers relate to today because they are not looking at this as a joke but finding stuff in there that still conjures a level of emotions.

"Then you can say 'Oh my god, this is so intense, but let's kind of make fun of it because that's a way to deflate the intensity of it.' You just have to look at 'Heathers" in the time period it was made."

Falk's approach the film came with a world view that had been cultivated through years of modeling as a teenager. The California native – who now lives in England – worked for the Ford Modeling Agency in New York that was documented in the book Lisanne: A Young Model. Among her best-known modeling work was portraying the upset woman in the men's restroom on the cover of Foreigner's album "Head Games."

Falk has been away from acting for more than 20 years with her last role being in the 1998 feature film "Shattered Image." Her decision to take a sabbatical from acting was based on feeling like she was not in sync with the kind of movies that were being made.

"When I was a teenager, all of the Brat Pack actors were really popular," Falk says. "And so I ran into that. Then it was the young teens again. I was always skirting the trends. I got married and pregnant, and my husband had a job opportunity to come to England.

"I had been working since I was 10 years old and was always trying to find my space. I did well enough but never quite hit my stride. So I decided to take a break but never imagined it would be this long."

Falk admits that all of the publicity that she's been doing to promote the 30th anniversary of "Heathers" and the fact her daughter is getting older has sparked a new interest in acting for her.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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