Dynasty & Other Sins
In her first venture as both star and executive producer of a mini-series, Joan Collins deliberately chose a vehicle that would allow her to play a character unlike Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter in "Dynasty." Her mini-series is SINS, a seven hour drama of intrigue and romance in the Paris high fashion world, which will be broadcast in three parts, Sunday, February 2 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET) Monday, February 3 and Tuesday, February 4 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET, each night) on the CBS Television Network.
"I think it is very important for an actor not to be identified with one role on a weekly television series," Miss Collins says. "What happens is that when that series eventually ends, the public, as well as the directors, producers and even network executives, tend to think of the actor only as that character. As much as I have enjoyed playing Alexis, I have spent every hiatus getting away from her, playing somebody different - like Helene Junot."
Before her fans fear that Miss Collins stray too far from the way they like to see her, it should be pointed out that Helene Junot of SINS may be different but she is not a drastic contrast.
"I don't see myself playing the little woman next door because I just am not right for that role," Miss Collins declares, noting that Helene is a successful, ambitious and aggressive business woman not above an occasional game of manipulation.
"But just because you are a successful career woman does not mean you are just like Alexis," Miss Collins insists. "Helene is much softer and kinder. She is warm, vulnerable and feminine. She is tremendously loyal to her friends."
Helene has her darker side. She is not a woman anyone would cross lightly. "She has had a great deal of misfortune in her early life," Miss Collins says. "She easily could have become victimized. But because of her strength of character and because of her invincible belief in revenge, her desire to get even, she doesn't let circumstances get the better of her. And this holds true through her entire life because she gets a tremendous number of knocks. But each time she gets a knock, she comes flying back up again."
Much of SINS concerns Helene's efforts to avenge herself against her enemies and their efforts to avenge themselves against her. "Because she is so strong so sure of herself she makes enemies easily,"
Miss Collins asserts. "Unfortunately I think that this is quite true in life. People who are sort of weak and trampled upon tend to be more popular than people who are assertive and won't take things lying down."
Although she identifies more closely with Helene, Miss Collins also defends Alexis. "If Alexis were a man she would be much more admired than she is," she says. "Ambition and even ruthlessness are admired in men but not in women and these are two qualities Alexis has in abundance. There are many people - producers and politicians - who are unscrupulous, ambitious and ruthless but for some reason or another they are categorized as being dreadful. Alexis is manipulative and bitchy and mean and sometimes gratuitously so but she would never kill anyone."
Helene Junot, too, has her character flaws. "Show me a flawless person and I will show you a boring person," she says. "Flaws in a person make them interesting."
Helene's flaws? "Her dedication to her magazines and her desire for revenge on the Nazi who destroyed her family are almost all-consuming passions. They come close to making her an overly vindictive person," she says.
Although the actress believes that Helene is a lot like Joan Collins she does see important differences. "Although I have had many knocks in my life I have never had the desire for revenge or getting my own back. That has not been part of my makeup at all," Miss Collins says. "I would rather forget the slights and the people who have done bad things to me. That is quite different from Helene. She can't."
Miss Collins would admit that maintaining the Alexis/Helene contrast was not always that easy. Every now and then Alexis' distinctive inflections would creep into the delivery of one of Helene's lines. Miss Collins was the first to call "cut" on those lapses, laugh and redo the take.
Copyright: Parlee, USA 1986