FW September 1999

FW September 1999

Shannen Doherty has come of age in the media spotlight. Overcoming the ups and downs, she has found a healthy way to make T.V. magic for a second time. Jonathan Bogo caught up with Doherty in Los Angeles to talk about making it as an actress - again.

There is someone hanging on Shannen Doherty's trailor door. Doherty lives in Los Angeles where she is currently working on the set of Charmed, the latest hit from Aaron Spelling. In the past most of the lowest-common-denominator-media have taken their shots at Doherty. But she has been an actor since age 11, and now at the age of 28 she has again placed herself in a hit TV show; a leson in perseverance. Also up this season in the ABC television movie Satan's School for Girls, Doherty is again (even according to the media that tried to tear her down) young and successful. Poignant and direct, she says what she means and those who are knocking on her door will just have to wait, because this time around Doherty seems to be living a life of her own design.

How did your involvement in Charmed come about?

Through my relationship with Aaron Spelling. I had worked with him before (BH 90210 ). He had called me about some other projects, but nothing was ever right for us to team up again unti Charmed came around.
When he got the script he called me for it and I read if and loved it and that was pretty much that. It was fairly easy actually with Charmed.

What made you decide to do it?

I thought it was something that the audience would respond to. I was never that sure of how long people would stay with the show, but I knew that initially it was something that our demographic would go for. It's a fun show. I know that when I work all day long I don't want to come home, turn on the TV, and start weeping.

Why do you think the show is so successful?

We don't take ourselves too seriously. We're there for fun. You have three girls who have three different personalities that all blend well. The chemistry between us is good and there is at least one of us that everybody out there can relate to.

Which people relate to your character?

Probably the people who have had a lot of responsibility and had to take on quite a bit in life. Yet they know there's this really fun and wild playful side to themselves that people just don't get to see enough of. My interpretation of my character Prue is that deep down she's probably pretty wild. We just haven't explored that side of her yet. I'm hoping that we'll do that this season.

Are there any plans to do that?

We've been discussing it. Doing a TV show ou have so many different opinions. You have my opinion, everyone that works at Spelling, and everyone at the WB. So it has to go through all these different channels. But everyone seems pretty receptive to the notion of Prue regressing a little bit and make up for the fact that she did have to be the responsible one in life and now she gets to have some fun.

What appeals to you about that?

I like showing the people the softer side of the character. I actually like Prue. Which for me is really weird because I couldn't stand Brenda (90210 ). For the four years that I played her, I absolutely disliked her. Now there's a character that I actually like. I like her seriousness. For me to show another part of her would be fascinating and give me a chance to show people that the character is fun and off-beat and not as all-about-work as she appears to be.

Why do you think you've been so successful as an actor?

Perseverance. Perseverance and faith in a higher power that this is in fact what I'm supposed to do with my life. That no matter how frustrating it gets I always believe in myself.

What's been the biggest thing you feel you've had to overcome?

It's always hard for some like me where people find my personal life more interesting than my work. That becomes really discouraging because you want people to focus on you as an actor as opposed to you as a celebrity or a figure in the public eye. I understand that I brought a lot of that on myself. I was quite young when I became well known and I don't think I knew what I was doing. I hadn't really evolved yet as a person. You call attention to your personal life by being a bit outlandish. You still hope that being a good actor will overshadow everything else somehow. But it doesn't. It's the media machine. It's insane. They make stars out of people in one day and then they destroy them the next. You have to look at that and ask yourself what the most important thing is. Do I want to be defeated of do I want to continue doing something that I enjoy doing. You have to find the different aspects of the business that you actually like. For me it's the acting part of it because it's a really tough business to be in. People don't realize what a competitve business this is. There's so much back-stabbing and gossiping. As actor you have to distance yourself from the business aspect of it. You have to find friends who are outside of it. That way when you go home you're separated from the bullshit that goes on between the agents and the lawyers regarding how much money you can make them. You have to find a way not to get sucked into that yet at the same time remain very appreciative of the fact that you even have a job. It's a fine line to walk. I've been around people in the past where all they wanted was to get a job. Once they got a job all they did was complain about it. You sit there and look at these people and ask, "What are you doing"? 95% of the actors in SAG (Screen Actors Guild) don't even work. You have to find a way to thank God everyday for the time that you are able to work.

If you weren't an actor what career would you choose for yourself?

Horses. Besides acting horses are my number one passion in life. I'm trying right now to set up a side business of breeding and trading horses.