MARK FRANKEL - A PROFILE AND GALLERY
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Memories of Mark Frankel:
Fortune Hunter and Kindred: the Embraced

 

Someone close to producers of Kindred:the Embraced and Fortune Hunter shares memories of working with Mark on both shows. This person does not want to be identified, and we certainly honor that request.

This person had the chance of working with Mark Frankel on several occasions and has interesting memories of his days in Miami and Los Angeles. The first meeting with Mark came when he was being auditioned for the Fortune Hunter lead role, as Carlton Dial and he was quite at ease for a "Brit actor trying his first break in the US," as he used to say.

"Everybody was very impressed by his charms, great looks, good manner and that suave quality so hard to find, all combined in one person. A couple of actors were auditioned that same day, and he was called back the morning after, for a screen test. The camera loved him - they seemed to be in love with each other. The two other actors called for the screen test were graciously dismissed right after Mark finished. He left a couple of hours later, after a meeting with all the producers and Mr. Spelling [Aaron Spelling] (who became friends with him, almost immediately). And on his way out, he stopped on the hallway, put his right hand on the wall, looked down for a few seconds and opened one of the warmest smiles I've ever seen. He saw me watching him and apologized for his 'outburst.' I remember saying something about it happening all the time and he laughed, came closer, sat down on one of my guest-chairs and asked for the phone directory. I asked if I could do anything to help him, and he said he was looking for the phone numbers of real state agents: he needed to be settled in within a couple of weeks. I told him that the studio would certainly provide him with all support and he smiled again, asked my name, and left with another warm, friendly smile."

Another meeting came a couple of weeks later, after the first three Fortune Hunter episodes were already shot and Mark was living in a condo, in Miami with his wife and baby son. This person had to visit the Disney set, in order to give some urgent memos and briefs to Mr. Cuse [Carlton Cuse]. Mark was by the pool.

"He called me by my name and I was puzzled by it - he blushed and apologized, calling me [...] . I laughed and said it was okay."

It took several weeks for their paths to cross again. Fortune Hunter had been cancelled in the mid-season and everyone was saddened by it, but Mr. Cuse decided to host a farewell party on Mark's behalf and everybody who worked in the production of FH was invited. During the cocktail party, Mark spoke to each and every one of the staff, commenting on how lucky they all were to be working with so many nice people.

"I told him about my moving to Los Angeles. He asked if I had a job in mind and when I said that I didn't, he asked me for a resume 'if you don't mind moving to London, I mean.' I was absolutely surprised, I had never ever considered it, and told him that it was never my intention to ask for his assistance or help. I thanked him for the offer and told him I would send my resume to his agents, first thing next morning. We then spoke of his family, the immense love he had for his wife and son, Fabian and how he would spend some time on personal matters and a few professional projects he had in mind, as soon as he stepped back in England. He left for Britain three days later. It took me several days to put up the nerve and send his agent my resume, with a small note to Mark, just in case he remembered me. I never heard from either of them and decided to set my feet back on the ground."

A couple of months went by, this person remained unemployed, eventually to be called in for an interview with Aaron Spelling himself. He needed assistance as he was working on some new shows.

"I asked him how in Heavens he got hold of my resume. He gave me a smirk (which is something one never expects to see) and told me I had a very strong Guardian Angel. I didn't understand that and at that point I couldn't think of anyone who might have looked after me.

"Another couple of weeks passed by and Mr. Spelling called me for a meeting with the production staff of Kindred: The Embraced, a new show, based on a famous Vampyre Role-Playing Game. I confess I had never heard of RPG, and even less of the Kindred, but it was his show after all. So, there I was, heading to the meeting room, PowerBook under my arms, a cup of coffee in my hands when a familiar British accent called out to me. Do you know those moments, when time stops and for a fraction of a second nothing happens: you don't see, hear, and speak. Nothing happens but that sound knocking on your head? Yes, that was one of those moments. It was Mark, with that unforgettable smile of his. I probably looked totally dumb. He crossed the hall, shook my hand, put the other hand on my shoulder and said 'So, you got the job, huh?' I was stunned. I felt like crying, smiling, jumping, running around, flying all at the same time. HE had sent my resume. Okay, maybe it was not he, Mark Frankel, but my resume hadn't gotten there by chance.

"So, here we are with the pre-production of Kindred. Everybody's excited about it, putting so much faith in it, and every single person knew that it was going to be Mark's big break. There was a huge amount of pressure on Mark, mainly because of him and his character having so much and so little in common at the same time. He seemed to take it lightly and not to give too much thought as to what people expected of him. The entire female crew was under his spell: from clerks, to actresses and some actors too, they were all under his magnetic eyes.

"When he finally 'incorporated' Julian Luna (to 'incorporate' a character is the top level, most important thing to be said about an actor and his role), we were all in shock. The producers, the cast, hairdressers, cameramen, stuntmen, every single person who saw the transformation was in shock. AND some of them were actually afraid of getting near Julian Luna (that's how he got to be known, inside the lot).

"The first scene recorded, was also Julian's first to be aired, (when he learns about the death of his bodyguard) and I must confess, it scared me to see so much anger in the eyes of someone I had known as a loving, caring and happy person. It really took me some time to learn to separate Julian from Mark -- during some time after filming his 'dark moments' it was not unusual to have someone afraid of him. After a couple of weeks, we laughed about it, and he often played jokes on people, stalking them down the hallways with his white contact lenses on.

"Well, there is a lot more to talk, many memories to be shared, but I still don't feel comfortable to talk about them, it hurts a lot. As Erik King once said, Mark was a very easy person to fall in love with. Mark had too much light, too much life and love within that unwillingly he touched the lives of every person he met, and also the lives of many people he never actually met."

 

Click the Kindred: the Embraced image for a video of this scene.


Contributed by Chris Frenzel

 

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