Jamie Luner has gone from MELROSE vixen
to PROFILER's top cop
It sounds like something Jamie Luner's quick-thinking former MELROSE PLACE vixen Lexi might have done. Imagine this: Luner is working on a movie in Mobile, Alabama over the summer when she hears of a job she really, really wants in Hollywood. Unable to make it across the country in time to try out, Luner needs to send in a videotape audition... and she needs to do it fast!
So the actress commandeers a local videotape facility and makes her own tape, enlisting the clerk at the facility to read with her - "he really had a thick accent," she recalls, putting on a Southern drawl to illustrate - and even working as her own director! "Thank gosh I know my lighting," says Luner. "I kept going back to the camera, checking it, reviewing it."
It sounds like a lot of trouble. But the role in question was a good one. Ally Walker (ex-Sam), the star of NBC's Saturday-night cop drama PROFILER, was stepping down, and the show was looking for a replacement. PROFILER's producers were familiar with the femme-fatale characters Luner had played on both MP and the 1996 primetime soap SAVANNAH (in that series, she portayed manipulative Southern belle Peyton), but they didn't know if she could handle a crime drama. As it turned out, Luner's homemade tape sufficiently impressed the folks at PROFILER. "We were excited about her from what we saw," says executive producer Stephen Kronish. When they finally met her in person sometime later, "that just knocked it over the goal line."
Luner got the job, and she's now playing Rachel Burke, a psychologist working for the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force. But now that Walker is gone, so is PROFlLER's ongoing storyline in which Sam was on a continual hunt for Jack, the serial killer who tormented her. Without that subplot, and with the addition of she-can't-help-but-vamp Luner, the series has lightened up a bit. Now, as PROFILER enters its fourth season, there's more humor and sexual tension. Producers consider Luner a good fit, saying she's able to project the strength and intelligence necessary for the role.
The part is quite a departure for Luner, who is pleased to be doing something new. "It's a wonderful opportunity to play a character totally different from anything I've been seen in before," she says.
Luner had already planned to expand her repertoire of roles before PROFILER came along. Even before MP was canceled, the actress had announced her departure; she had a deal with The WB to star on a new cop series THE FORCE, a MOD SQUAD-type show that never got off the ground. But, ironically, Luner gets to do her cop show anyway. She's especially enjoying the action on PROFILER. "I love it!" she declares. "I like to do my own stunts. Action is wonderful."
That's good, because Luner is seeing plenty of action these days. Part of a large ensemble cast on MP, Luner was only seen for minutes of every hour. But on PROFILER, she is front-and-center, working long days and late into the night. It has been an eye-opening experience, and she admits with a laugh, "It's amazing the hours you pull when you're the lead of a show."
BY DAMON ROMINE
LUNER'S PRE-PROFILER RESUME
Jamie Luner may have made a name for herself as Lexi on MELROSE PLACE, but fans of primetime drama already fell in love with the sultry actress during her stint as Peyton on Aaron Spelling's SAVANNAH. Obviously, Spelling remembered Luner's great appeal when he was looking to cast the role of MP's Lexi, who should have been a character on NYPD BLUE, considering how she would cavort around in barely nothing most of the time.
Left to right: Luner won her first starring role on primetime's JUST THE TEN OF US, a GROWING PAINS spinoff; SAVANNAH's Peyton; MP's Lexi and Michael.