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TV Interview: “The Triangle”‘s Olivia d’Abo

Any fan of the nostalgic series The Wonder Years remembers Olivia d’Abo, who played the rebellious daughter Karen Arnold for five seasons before the show’s cancellation in 1993. She went on to play Kirk Douglas‘ scantily clad young lover in the film Greedy (1994) and starred in 1995’s Live Nude Girls.

Today, d’Abo‘s back on the tube in TBS’ new original film The Triangle (airing 8 p.m. EST Sunday, Aug. 12), about a haunted cruise liner in the Bermuda Triangle, starring opposite Luke Perry and Dan Cortese.

D’Abo sat down and spoke with Hollywood.com recently–in a surprisingly thick British accent–from her summer home in Mexico to discuss the new film, her hatred for fishing, and her long-held bitterness about the way The Wonder Years ended.

Hey, Olivia. How are ya spending the summer?

D’Abo: Just staying down here in Mexico. We have a place down here. Just relaxing with the family.

You’re back on the small screen in August with The Triangle, your first supernatural thriller. Would you say it’s on par with other similar films like The Haunting?

D’Abo: You know, I’ve always thought it was so much like Dead Calm, actually. But it’s more spiritual than that. And more physical. It’s a special kind of action movie.

Gotcha. Did [director] Lewis Teague bring to the small screen the kind of tension he did with Cujo in the early ’80s?

D’Abo: Definitely! He brought his unique expertise to the TV with this one. He has such a great understanding of what he wants to see–like knowing just how the special effects will look months later. He certainly knew what he wanted.

Would you say you now prefer making thrillers?

D’Abo: All depends on the director, really. With thrillers, there’s such a fine line between what’s good and what’s cheesy and corny. It’s tough to make things seem realistic, you know? Like, in the film, when you see all the bodies locked in the ship, that was done well.

Your character, Charlie, is a bit mysterious, mystical–especially with the whole voodoo element thrown in. Did you have to do any special research on the occult for this film?

D’Abo: Not really. [Laughs] With the voodoo, I just learned some words. You know, the ones I speak in the film. But speaking of her spirituality, I made her quite sensitive–that was my choice. And hey, I’m pretty sensitive too.

How about the grueling water scenes? Were you well-prepared for such a physical role?

D’Abo: More than anything, the crew was prepared. They were very professional–I was never in any danger. I even did many of my own stunts, like hoisting a 100-pound anchor and jumping into that rowboat at the end. I mean, that’s unheard of! Me raising a 100-pound anchor! [Laughs] Wow.

Hey, you pulled it off just fine.

D’Abo: But, you know, that wasn’t even the hardest part of the shoot. You know what was? Me fishing. I don’t fish. Not ever. [Laughs] I had to bait the hooks and scale the fish and everything, and I’m not really into that.

Well, the location of your shoot-Barbados–probably made things easier on ya.

D’Abo: Hey, when we arrived they gave us some amazing fruit punches and let us all hang out for six days before shooting began. Now that’s a gig I didn’t want to turn down.

Did any other oceanic-adventure movies inspire your costars, Luke Perry and Dan Cortese?

D’Abo: Not so much Luke and Dan, but Lewis [Teague] was parading around impersonating some pirate from a black-and-white movie. I think he believed he was Long John Silver there for a while. Scary.

Speaking of past productions, I noticed that reruns of The Wonder Years has turned up on TNN. Are you surprised the show has endured in syndication for so long, on so many varied networks?

D’Abo: Yes and no. I mean, it’s surprising. You keep seeing your face over and over again all the time. You become immortalized, you know? It’s really stood the test of time, that show. It’s become like All in the Family or M*A*S*H–like all the great shows from that time.

I know that reunion shows have been popular lately. Is there any plan for a Wonder Years reunion?

D’Abo: We sort of had one already a while back, but it wasn’t really a reunion show. They just gathered us all together to talk about the show. We all sat down on a panel. They pieced together an amazing collage. It brought tears to my eyes. It’s amazing what TV can do–bringing you into people’s living rooms so easily.

Well, seeing how the show’s final episode ended, I don’t guess Dan [Lauria, who played the father on the show], would be able to be in a reunion show in the first place. They killed him off pretty abruptly.

D’Abo: Yeah, that’s true. I really don’t know why they did that. I mean, they could have ended the show happy–but then they went and did that. I remember that scene. We were all gathered at a parade, remember? And they just dropped that on us.

Yeah, I remember. Too bad. There was so much comedy on that show. Hell of a way to end it.

D’Abo: Yeah, well, it was nice to see MAD magazine do a spoof on the show a little while later. Did you catch that one? It was great. They did a feature on what the cast would be like 10 years down the road. Fred [Savage, who played Kevin Arnold] was in therapy. Jason [Hervey, who played the eldest Arnold, Wayne] was out clubbing seals somewhere, and I was in Greenpeace, I think. Really funny.

Nice. Well, what’s in store for ya later this year?

D’Abo: I’m doing an album. It’s like ’60s folk with techno undercurrents. Sounds bizarre, but it’s popular. Then I’m doing the voice of Jane in a new Disney show about Tarzan. So, I’ll be pretty busy for months on end.

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