For the last 25 years Jane Badler has been in the hearts and minds of many SciFi fans for her role as the sexually charged, domineering leader of the Visitors landing party in the classic 1983 Science Fiction mini series V. So it will probably surprise many genre fans that there is another more musical side to Jane, who is releasing her new Music CD With Sir/The Devil Has My Double in June 2008. The album had been described a compulsive mix of fame, sex and solitude, set to a sweeping soundtrack of cold soul and passionate synthetics.
I recently got the chance to chat briefly with Jane about her music as well as her acting work, and as you can see Jane was generous with her time and made some pretty impressive revelations about her career which has been a mix of music, television and theatre.
SCI FI PULSE: You got into acting quite early in life. Where was the transition from acting to singing? As in how did it all come about? Did you do both acting and singing from the start?
JANE BADLER: I’ve always sang and acted at the same time. I started singing at five, as we probably all do. I was in a talent contest in New York. So I guess it was always my passion. For me, singing is also acting and although they use different techniques, they both demand a connection with yourself to be truly exciting.
SCI FI PULSE: As far as the acting goes, did you ever have any aspirations to do musical theatre at all and if so is there any role in particular you’d either liked to have done or would still like to do?
Jane: I’ve done musical theatre in the past. I was in the musical Fantastiks at a huge theatre in Dallas, with an all-star cast. I also did an off-Broadway musical in New York City and last year, I appeared in the musical Archy and Mehitabel by Mel Brooks here in Melbourne.
That said, there’s definitely a musical theatre sound and I don’t have that sort of voice. If I were to do more musical theatre I would be interested in doing more quirky kinds of musicals, but I can’t really think of any role I am dying to play.
SCI FI PULSE: What music do you like to listen to and which musician, if any, do you feel has influenced your music?
Jane: I love all sorts of music — if it’s good, I like it! I love soul and RnB. My favourites are probably Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight. I love Amy Winehouse, Portishead — and quirky bands like Feist, jazz divas like Diana Krall, Dinah Washington and Kurt Elling. I Love old Prince, George Michael etc. Also love classical. Great music is great music.
SCI FI PULSE: The title of your new CD The Devil Has My Double sounds a little dark, what does it mean and what kind of songs can people expect to hear. Having listened to a little of the songs on your MySpace page, it kind of put me in mind of an indy rock and blues influence.
In fact, the vocal style on the first song kind of reminded me of early Alice Cooper and Shakespeare’s Sister.
Jane: Yes, The Devil Has My Double refers to a woman who is out of control with her impulses to the point of destruction and has burnt many bridges in her life because of her addictions. It is all a bit dark but also humorous and cheeky with many musical references.
I’m very flattered by your comparison to Alice Cooper and Shakespeare’s Sister, both of whom I like.
SCIFI PULSE: Do you think you will be taking these songs on tour?
Jane: There’s definitely that possibility and it would be very exciting if we did.
SCI FI PULSE: Moving onto your acting. The part that myself and many people who read Scifipulse will know you for is the role of Diana in V – The Mini Series and its subsequent spin-offs: The Final Battle and the TV series. Can you tell us a little about how you got the role and what it was about Diana that appealed to you?
Jane: I was living in New York doing the soap opera The Doctors with Alec Baldwin when I flew out to Los Angeles to audition for Diana. I thought it looked like a lot of fun. It was so exciting when I got the role, as it all happened so fast and before I knew it there I was with lizard skin. Diana was such a fun role. A real fantasy I loved every minute.
SCI FI PULSE: Were you aware that the show was going to be so big, and if not, what made you aware of its following?
Jane: I had no idea the show was going to be so big. To be in it was a great job, nothing more. I think I realized it was huge when I saw people dressed up as Diana on Hallowe’en and when I was asked to be in the Macy’s Christmas parade as Diana and thousands of people cheered me as we went by… amazing.
SCI FI PULSE: Writer, director and producer Kenneth Johnson who wrote directed and produced the original mini series was and still to this day unhappy with the decisions that Warner Bros made with both The Final Battle and the series. Hindsight being 20/20, what were your thoughts having experienced working on all three?
Jane: It certainly changed when Ken left after the first miniseries. I think there was a lot of dissension among the ranks after he left. When Ken was involved, we all felt we were in something really special and it didn’t matter how hard we worked — it was for a common goal. That seemed to disappear and it became a job.
The series certainly became a bit of a joke as it descended into a soap opera in outer space — and I was the alien version of Joan Collins!
SCI FI PULSE: While on the subject of Kenneth Johnson, he’s written a book called V: The Second Generation that picks up the story 25 years after the original 1983 mini series. This book was originally the script he pitched to the studios a few years ago. If the opportunity ever came up for you to reprise the role of Diana in a follow up would you do it?
Jane: Absolutely — especially if Ken was involved. It would be amazing.
SCI FI PULSE: Given that Kenneth Johnson’s premise for a continuation is set 25 years on from where the first mini series left off, what do you think Diana would be up to now, and what in your gut as an actress do you think would have changed about her in those intervening years?
Jane: Ah, well… Obviously Diana would be a lot more mature now and most likely she’d be more fearful of losing her power, looks and sexual appeal that she used so often.
SCI FI PULSE: You worked on quite a few soaps in the US, yet you went on to do V as well as guest spots in the 1990′s TV series Flipper and then played a witch in The Lost World series as a guest star. How did all those experiences differ for you, and, aside from V, what was your favourite to work on?
Jane: Every job is different, some more satisfying than others. The Lost World was a lot of fun as once again I played a real fantasy character, which I would rather play than a character with no power. Flipper was just a bit a fun, nothing to taxing. I worked with Jessica Alba before she became a huge star and Gus Mercurio, the boxer.
SCI FI PULSE: I believe you have done a bit of theatre work as well. How do the two mediums of television and theatre differ and which one is your favourite to work in?
Jane: Yes, I just finished a wonderful play called the Mercy Seat. It was probably the most satisfying acting experience I’ve ever had. All the components worked and I was very sad to see it end as it gave me great pleasure.
I love the theatre as there’s continuity to it, whereas in film everything is shot out of sequence and it takes a lot of effort to keep track of where you are emotionally. It’s very challenging.
SCI FI PULSE: Jane, thank you very much for your time. Best of luck with the new CD
• Check out Jane’s myspace www.myspace.com/sirmusic to preview some tracks off the album.
If you’re reading this in Australia, the album is officially launched on 14 June at the Toff venue in Melbourne, where Jane will be performing with her awesome indie band, Sir
V ON DVD…
Written By Ian M. Cullen