Actress Kelly Lynch began her career as a model for Elite then went on to appear in such films as Drugstore Cowboy, Cocktail, and Road House that became huge hits in the eighties. She continued playing original and unforgettable characters in Charlie’s Angels and The L Word.
Her latest project is on the Starz network show Magic City. Set in 1950’s Miami, Florida, the story follows Ike Evans played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan who owns a high-end hotel that becomes involved with the mob. She plays Meg Bannock the sister of Ike’s deceased first wife who comes from old money.
We found out how this successful actress crashed into the business and how her journey continues to this day.
Jerry Nunn: Hey, Kelly. So you are calling from LA?
Kelly Lynch: I am.
JN: I know you are originally from Minnesota.
KL: Exactly. I actually spent a winter in your fair city doing Curly Sue, which was John Hughes last directed film. I had a weird occurrence on Lake Shore Drive. We hit sheet ice with my daughter, who is now 26 years old. I was afraid there would be a 300-car pile up because we were the first ones hitting the guardrail so I got my daughter out of the car and carried her on my back because we couldn’t stand on the wind and the ice. I crawled across and got to the side before more accidents could happen.
JN: That is horrible! I don’t want you to remember Chicago like that.
KL: Every thing else was great. The food, the music, the mid century architecture and all of that stuff that I love are there.
JN: What made you want to do the show Magic City?
KL: First of all I slept with the show runner various times to get the part. He’s my husband. I have full disclosure here. It wasn’t just once, we had to do it a lot. So there is that. I am not too proud to admit it. (both laugh)
Mitch was talking about this whole idea as a movie or TV show since we have been together, which has been 23 years. I have been every single character including Ben Diamond (the mobster) at one time or another!
He really started thinking of this character of Meg Bannock, who the older I get the more I am just in love with. These heiresses breathed different air than the rest of us do. This woman had to say goodbye to husband number two and had no children but all of this wealth, then had to compete in a man’s world with power and money. She had real estate and really groovy cars and clothes.
JN: Which do you like more the hair or the clothes?
KL: I think being a fashionista myself, I don’t mind tooting my own horn, I am two-time International Best Dressed winner, actually as a couple, my husband the dashing Mitch Glazer. So clothes would be my first thing.
The hairdos I have taken a clue from Grace Kelly who wore a simple blonde bob. Maybe in season two Meg Bannock goes wild and ends up in some sort of jazz club and let’s her hair do new things.
JN: I have only seen three episodes so far so we shall see.
KL: We have the most amazing costume designer Carol Ramsey, who I am sure will be up for an Emmy. In every episode she dresses up to 600 people in period clothing. She is like the Steve Jobs of wardrobe in that he made sure his computer’s insides were perfect and beautiful, she makes sure even our underclothing is period and perfect. She thinks it changes the way we stand and walk. Of course it gives me curves in places I never knew I had curves, which I like.
JN: Why do you think audiences enjoy period shows like this one and Mad Men?
KL: I have to say looking back on our history from the first turn of the century to this one it was a time when America was America with a flexing muscle, big chrome cars, the space program seconds away, the Kennedy era dying on us, the middle class thriving, it was a golden era. People in the world still think of this time in a positive way. We explore in our show the underbelly of that. It was a crime riddled and very white power structure. In Miami during this time period two percent was Latin. Today it is sixty percent. Women were barely in the job force. African American people were not allowed the right to vote. My husband used the “colored” drinking fountain as a child because he thought a rainbow would come out!
JN: The innocence of a child…
KL: Isn’t that cute? His parents were Jewish rights activists. The dawn of civil rights happened in Miami. You have Cuba and the fall of Castro happening there in an episode. You have a Jewish mob as opposed to Italian that has been explored quite a bit. This sparkly family is loving and great, having everything else but it is like a house of cards with secrets. All I can tell you is after these first three episodes that illustrate the world we are in, people will not believe what they see. It gets to a place that is completely unexpected and shocking. It starts off slow and languid then picks up speed and gets more intense. I just have become privy to some of next years brush strokes and it will be a very good year for Meg again!
JN: So it is picked up for next year already?
KL: Yes, I think that started to happen once the editing was done. Starz just felt so strongly about the show that they wanted to get season two going. I wasn’t surprised because I know what we have done but it is always great to have that vote of confidence before the show even premieres.
JN: You played an interesting role on Showtime’s The L Word.
KL: That was one of my favorite characters of my life. I had just filmed a big role and my agent asked me what I wanted to do. My rule is to never play the same person twice. I have always felt I am character actor trapped in a leading ladies body. I wanted to play something romantic.
They mailed me over some sides for a character named Ivan. I thought it was a funny name for a girl. I read it and they included a note that Pam Grier was Kit, Ivan’s love interest and Ivan is a drag king that is sexy and handsome. I had to fly to Vancouver the next day and shoot it. I had to do a drag show and I had never seen drag kings before. My dad owned a drag bar in Minneapolis when I was kid.
JN: I didn’t know that.
KL: Yeah, he is in the bar and restaurant business, he is retired but I grew up loving drag queens. We have a very thriving gay community in Minneapolis. That is something I am really proud of.
This was a completely different world for me so I went online and picked out a song “I’m Your Man” and I choreographed it that night in my hotel room. It was the most scary, exciting, fun thing I have ever done. I had to beg the hair and makeup people not to make me look like Clint Howard, Ron Howard’s funny looking brother. In my mind Ivan was the most handsome guy on the planet. I wanted that androgynous quality that would get everyone intrigued, whether they were straight, gay, or lesbian.
JN: You also did the gay movie Kaboon by director Gregg Araki. I heard he is amazing to work with.
KL: He is amazing and has done all these movies. We made it for under a million dollars and shot it down and dirty. The way he shoots is so personal and he is holding the camera usually. He takes incredible chances and they are funny and sexy. They are experiments. I have done huge multi million dollar movies like Charlie’s Angels. That is a completely different weird experience but when you have no money and no time and just creative energy you can do a lot. When there is more money involved there are many people making decisions and a lot of ideas in the blender.
JN: You have had such a long sustainable career working with Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, and Denzel Washington.
KL: My leading men have been amazing without a doubt then to have had a chance to play a leading man, well there you go! (laughs) I challenge any other actress to say that…
JN: You started off as an Elite model then became bored right?
KL: I started off as a kid in that I was performer from birth. I came out of the womb with a top hat and cane. I did stand up, improv, I kept circling around performing things. I did of all crazy things mime. I studied all kinds of things like dance. I am a great Latin dancer. My mother wanted to get me on Dancing With the Stars but I think that would be cheating. I was a teacher. I would be thrown off the island so fast my head would spin! I have done like an old Hollywood movie star and studied every aspect of it. After a horrible car accident in Minnesota in my early twenties in yet again another snowstorm, a girl went the wrong way on the road, hit me, and my femurs were smashed. They were going to amputate my legs. I got through it all on Demerol and Michael Jackson’s Thriller album that I played over and over to my whole orthopedic floor’s dismay. I thought in the hospital if I ever get well I am going to go for the big thing try to be an actor. So that is what I did. I went to New York and started right away. I came from Minnesota with $400 in my pocket. Even in the ‘80s that goes pretty quick in Manhattan, a couple of cocktails and there you go!
JN: What a ride you have had. I wanted to ask you, do blondes have more fun do you like being brunette?
KL: I feel like my IQ drops as a blonde. Then there is an icy blonde thing that is kind of Hitchcock so if you keep it sophisticated blonde then you are okay. I do feel when I play a brunette character I get a different kind of respect. So we will see what happens with Meg because she is one of those Hitchcockian blondes.
JN: I will stay tuned!