TEACHING MRS. TINGLE
Friends And Foes
Swept up in Leigh Ann Watson's struggle to get to the head of the class are two of her schoolmates: the alluringly rebellious Luke and her would-be actress best friend Jo Lynn
Swept up in Leigh Ann Watson's struggle to
get to the head of the class are two of her schoolmates: the alluringly
rebellious Luke and her would-be actress best friend Jo Lynn.
What Luke lacks in academic prowess he makes up for in sheer cool,
a devilishly seductive quality that brings out the naughty side
of Leigh Ann. In fact, as he helps her go after her goals, Luke
bypasses Leigh Ann Watson's rational head and goes straight for
heart. Playing Luke is Barry Watson, star of the television hit
"Seventh Heaven," on which he portrays Luke's polar
opposite: a preacher's son incapable of doing anything wrong.
"In MRS. TINGLE, we get to see another side of Barry,"
states Kevin Williamson. "He's a perfect blend of naivete
and sexiness, and at the same time there's an emotional depth
that Barry really hasn't had a chance to explore before on camera."
"I only had a chance to do one movie this season and this
was the one I wanted," notes Watson. "I was excited
about playing Luke because I'm used to playing someone who's the
nicest guy on television and it was great to switch gears and
play the cool bad-ass."
As for Jo Lynn, the extrovert whose friendship with Leigh Ann
- and lust for Luke -- is sorely tested by their ordeal with Mrs.
Tingle, the filmmakers went for a total unknown. They chose vivacious
newcomer Marisa Coughlan based on one very impressive audition.
"She walked in and Cathy and I just flipped," recalls
Williamson. "At first we were quite worried about going with
an unknown. We were scared that it was going to be our biggest
fight, but when we showed Marisa to executive producer Bob Weinstein,
he felt as strongly as we did and she was cast in the role."
Following TEACHING MRS. TINGLE, Coughlan went on to take a leading
role in Kevin Williamson's new, highly anticipated series for
Coughlan, like her fellow cast members, found the script an irresistible
lure. "It's such a great story, with a wonderful balance
of humor, thrills and an underlying psychological brain tweakage.
It's not just about the suspenseful games these people play but
about how they change from them."
Coughlan says of her character: "Jo Lynn is the bad influence
on Katie, the one always trying to coerce her into doing naughty
things. She's a real flirt and very theatrical. Every scene of
hers is over-the-top so it was a very, very fun thing to do."
Reaction was similar from the rest of the cast, which includes
such veteran performers as Jeffrey Tambor, Lesley Ann Warren,
Vivica A. Fox, Michael McKean and Molly Ringwald. Once one of
the 80s biggest teen stars herself, Ringwald now plays Miss Banks,
the kind of authority her past characters might have rebelled
"I loved that TEACHING MRS. TINGLE combined comedy with fun
and suspense," Ringwald says. "It really gets to the
core of relationships between teachers and students at that age,
which are often complex. There's always a Mrs. Tingle in everybody's
life. People can almost always name them. I had two: an English
teacher who was just mean, mean, mean and an Algebra teacher."
But now of course, Ringwald is one of the teachers, albeit
one who is in Ringwald's words "just waiting to bust loose."
She comments: "It was actually a lot of fun playing a teacher
instead of a student. I mean I definitely do
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