"Melrose Place" executive producer Darren Swimmer says there is still something overtly sexual about Laura Leighton and Thomas Calabro, who reprise their roles as Sydney Andrews and Michael Mancini in the CW's update of the Aaron Spelling hit, airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. "It's their sexual nature that gets their characters into trouble," he said. "Look at them -- even after all this time, they're hot." The following is a longer
version of a feature about Leighton and Calabro that will be published in the Los
Angeles Times Sunday Calendar.
The most disarming thing about Laura Leighton and Thomas Calabro — “Melrose Place’s” diabolical Sydney Andrews and Michael Mancini — is that they appear not to have aged since Aaron Spelling’s campy hit wrapped in 1999.
Calabro dismissed the idea with a laugh. “You’re not the first person to say that, but it’s not true,” Leighton said.
Oh, but it is, as evidenced in Tuesday’s episode, which flashed back to Sydney’s first death 12 years ago, a fatal car accident she somehow survived. Turns out Michael -- seen in all his ’90s-era poofy-haired glory -- had some lingering affection for his red-headed nemesis-turned-lover-turned-nemesis, and helped her fake her own death. Executive producer Darren Swimmer said traveling back in time didn’t take long. “We just had to adjust Thomas’ hair, and Laura looks the same. It’s uncanny.”
Resuming their scandalous alter egos for the CW’s series reboot -- and the attention that has come with it -- took getting used to for the pair. “When we shot our first scene in the hospital, I thought, ‘OK, this is weird. Fun, but weird,’” Leighton said during dinner with Calabro in Studio City last month. “It really was,” Calabro said. “I just remember thinking, ‘Thank God you’re here with me.’”
Both actors worked consistently, albeit out of the limelight, in the decade since “Melrose” went off the air -- Leighton in TV movies and short-lived shows, Calabro on stage and in guest-starring roles -- but today find themselves back in the spotlight. “Melrose” is the CW’s highest-priority launch this fall, and while viewership has been tepid, the recent signing of Heather Locklear, who will reprise her role as Amanda Woodward in November, stands to goose ratings.