May 07, 1996
Vampires on Fox's `Kindred: The Embraced' hope for the dawn of a new season
By BOB SOKOLSKY
Ottaway News Service
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The days are dwindling and even if you are a vampire and
used to scaring people you've got to be a bit frightened yourself right now.
That's because decision time is coming up at Fox. R-Day is tentatively set
for May 21, possibly May 22, and that's when the Ventrues, the Nosferatu, the
Brujah and all the other clans comprising ``Kindred: The Embraced,'' learn
whether they have been renewed for a full season or dropped after seven shows.
Actually, they have filmed eight. But one is in limbo - it could appear some
time this summer or it may disappear entirely. So, for the moment, the last of
the original ``Kindred'' episodes, titled ``Cabin in the Woods,'' will be coming
And Mark Frankel, who plays Julian Luna, the series' head vampire (insiders
call them ``Kindred,'' hence the title), thinks it might be the best show of the
``It's spooky, but very sexually charged,'' he says.
The same might be said for the other outings in this saga of contemporary
vampires whose activities range from street gangs to board rooms. And in the
process, the whole affair has been establishing Julian as a character to be
loved and feared.
The British-born Frankel expresses some amusement about that, also a touch of
worry. ``The first film I did in England was `Leon the Pig Farmer,''' he
recalls. ``It was a successful film and suddenly I'm a comic actor.''
He certainly was in the movie ``Solitaire for 2.'' And he definitely is in
``Rosanna's Grave,'' a feature he has been doing during breaks in the
``Kindred'' schedule. But now, he observes, ``I'll probably be playing vampires
Of course, playing one like Julian wouldn't be the worst job in the world.
``The great thing about the character is that he doesn't get out of a coffin at
midnight,'' Frankel says. ``If he had I probably wouldn't be doing this.
``But this is a fascinating role. Here is someone who has been locked into
the prism of his life for 200 years. He's had six lifetimes, he's spanned the
18th, 19th and 20th centuries, gone through two world wars and broken
relationships. Consequently, here's a man with an amazing understanding of human
psychology. He's a man of great authority and he has a knowledge and depth a
young person would never have because he has seen so much. That gives him so
many different perspectives. In fact, I'm sure that if I had been living for 200
years I'd be having a much different conversation with you.''
The general idea, Frankel notes, is to have Julian and his colleagues create
a murky mood that can get downright scary at times. But he says the true fright
- for him anyway - is not the series. It's the audition that led to it.
``I met with Fox and with (executive producer) Aaron Spelling. All actors are
paranoid, but it's terrifying when you go to a network for these things,''
Frankel says. ``Especially with Fox. You go into a room with 35 people sitting
there and staring at you. It's a real daunting experience. I kept thinking `I
could end my career right here and now.'
``But then Aaron said to me, `Are you nervous? I don't want you to be. We're
really excited about meeting you.''
That calmed him down. Now, however, there is another problem - jet lag as he
contemplates a travel schedule that, within four days, is sending him from L.A.
to his home in London, to Rome to complete ``Rosanna's Grave,'' back to London
and then to New York. ``These days I'm very familiar with some good-looking
airline hostesses,'' Frankel declares.
(FILED BY THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIF., PRESS-ENTERPRISE)