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With An Eye On . . . : The Beast In Beasley Finally Emerges In 'The Tommyknockers'

May 09, 1993|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hollywood take notice: Allyce Beasley, who played the delightfully ditsy Agnes Dipesto on ABC's "Moonlighting," would love to play a bad girl.

But it's been a difficult chore for Beasley to persuade Hollywood that she can be a wicked lady. Take, for example, the recent Susan Dey ABC movie, "Lies and Lullabies," in which Beasley played Dey's compassionate, understanding co-worker.

"I loved doing the role, but it was frustrating," says Beasley, who is the commercial spokesperson for Kraft's Parmesan Cheese. It wasn't that her character was flighty, "but they tried to get me to go that way--you know, being the good guy. That's who I thought Miss Dipesto was. While everyone was freaking out and everyone was nasty to each other, she was the one who kept being nice to everybody. So when I had to do that in Susan's movie, it was kind of upsetting."

But in ABC's four-hour edition of "Stephen King's The Tommyknockers," airing Sunday and Monday, Beasley gets to play a bad girl. Well ... sort of.

Based on King's best-seller, "The Tommyknockers" finds the residents of a small Maine town possessed by a mysterious force that's discovered in the woods. Beasley plays Becka, the assistant to the police chief, whose good-natured personality radically changes because of the force.

"Her husband is cheating on her," Beasley says. "She discovers her husband is not faithful to her. And because of circumstances, instead of being the good girl, I get to have my revenge. I didn't think of it as revenge, it was my way of getting my husband back at all costs."

Though set in New England, "Tommyknockers" actually was filmed in New Zealand. "It was the most fun," Beasley says enthusiastically. "It was the best time I had working. I haven't really gone on location anywhere before. I didn't even get to see the most beautiful parts, and I was still blown away by it."

Beasley would love to do another TV series. "I love acting," she says. "I would like to do something that wasn't Miss Dipesto. I am a different person now than I was then. I am older. I really would like to carry a show, to tell you the truth. Who wouldn't?"

Beasley did get to carry a few episodes of "Moonlighting," thanks to creator-producer Glenn Gordon Caron's insistence, when stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis took a much-needed break. ABC, Beasley says, was "not happy about it at first. But I know I held the show. It's easy to tell with an hour show because you have the half-hour ratings. Then you can see whether people switched channels in the second half-hour or not. If the supporting character carries it through the first half-hour every single time, you think it would tell them something."

Despite her success on "Moonlighting," Beasley's favorite TV experience was playing the Coach's (the late Nicholas Colasanto) plain-Jane daughter on a poignant early episode of "Cheers."

"I had only been out here a couple of months," Beasley recalls. "I had just come from New York where all my experience had been theater. I hadn't any film experience at all. Nick and I got like a five-minute standing ovation from the audience. It was the biggest thrill of my life."

\o7 "Stephen King's The Tommyknockers" airs Sunday and Monday at 9 p.m. on ABC; repeats of "Moonlighting" air weekdays at noon and Saturdays at 11 a.m. on Lifetime.\f7

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