The collection, created by Thomas W. Lynch and Ken Lipman, ran from 1994-1998 on Nickelodeon and was a cornerstone of the network’s SNICK block of kid programming.
“It’s funny because for a time frame it was very uncool to be Alex Mack, and so I’m glad that it is like cool and retro,” Oleynik mentioned with a chuckle. “It is come back round … I nonetheless get individuals asking me to turn right into a puddle. It is kind of funny and cute … I believe [the powers] have been, for me, more of a metaphor for all of the weird modifications you go through in that time in your life.”
Now, 18 years after the show’s premiere, Lynch discusses the key origins of “Alex Mack,” Darris Love (who played Alex’s best pal Ray) reminisces about life on set, and Oleynik reveals what it was like to be the girl who might turn into a silver puddle … and why she walked away from a franchise. Plus, Oleynik and Lynch reveal the fate of Alex’s many hats and reply the series finale cliffhanger query.
The key ORIGINS OF ALEX MACK
Lynch stated he got the thought for woman who will get powers from a chemical accident from his personal childhood. Because the son of a nuclear physicist, Lynch’s father labored with radioactive material that was saved in his storage. “At the moment, they’d’ve shut the whole block down,” he stated. “It cracked me up — the concept that stuff was right there. What if I ate it? What would occur to me?”
But GC-161, the chemical that gave Alex powers, was nothing he discovered amongst his father’s chemicals. Lynch stated he thinks he got here up with the GC a part of the identify while doing DNA analysis, and the 161 got here from the number eight. “I used to be 8 years old when my dad and mom bought divorced,” he said. “That was purposeful.”
Promoting the show to Nickelodeon was simple, Lynch mentioned. With “Children Integrated” and “Evening Tracks” on his resume, Lynch said Nickelodeon got here to him about doing a series. Lynch was flattered and convinced them to let him develop six scripts. “The only script I wrote was ‘The key World of Alex Mack,'” he stated. “I never wrote those other 5.”
Whereas developing “The key World of Alex Mack,” Lynch stated the network had just one observe: make the title character Alex, who was initially written as a boy, into a woman. “I believe the success of it laid in the fact that I did not write a gender, I wrote a character. Myself and Ken Lipman, who co-wrote the pilot with me, we did not change it to be a woman, we just had a personality.”
In an effort to make the present, Lynch wanted an actress he may write for and screened about 600 women. He was used to on the lookout for triple threats, like Fergie and Jennifer Love Hewitt, who had been on his previous show, “Youngsters Incorporated”; but for “Alex Mack,” he needed an actress who could do drama and comedy. Enter Larisa Oleynik.
“Larisa came in and i remember wanting around the room and saying, ‘That’s it. That’s the one. I can write for her,'” he mentioned. “[Nickelodeon] mentioned, ‘Ok, ship a tape,’ and that i said, ‘No, no, no. That’s the one. She’s it.'”
Oleynik does not remember much of the casting process, just that “The key World of Alex Mack” had a number of hype round it amongst the community of Oakwood, an condo group many younger actors lived in.
“I do not think I needed to go in that many instances,” she mentioned. “It seemed to happen fairly simply for me, a minimum of compared to what the testing course of is now.”
Among the finest issues concerning the show, which Lynch said he cannot take any credit score for, is the best way Oleynik interpreted the character. “She did more directing of herself than anyone ever did. She knew exactly what she was doing and had such a present,” he mentioned.
“I had such a clear handle on the character as a result of it was me,” Oleynik stated. “It was me in special circumstances, however that is who I used to be.”
Oleynik stated her favourite half in regards to the character was that Alex owned who she was. “For essentially the most part, she was pretty down together with her personal uniqueness without it being contrived or something like that. She did not make any apologies for who she was and that to me is very cool,” she said.
Alex Mack still wears those hats. “Um, do you know that I still have so a lot of those hats? And i wear them,” Oleynik stated. “I nonetheless have so a lot of those beanies.”
Whereas she does not have a favorite, one specific hat sticks out in Oleynik’s thoughts. “I imagine — effectively, we’re all of age now — I believe we referred to as it the condom cap,” she mentioned with a giggle. “Because it was just like this bizarre, brown, I do not know … totally gross!”
Lynch has the iconic baseball hat the character wore when she was doused with GC-161, however Alex Mack and her hats did not always go hand in hand. While prepping for the pilot, Lynch said Laura Slakey, the present’s costume designer, put the hat on Oleynik whereas testing different looks for the character. “She simply threw this hat on and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s good.’ The most iconic factor in the show, I had nothing to do with.”
Strolling AWAY FROM ALEX MACK
“It is a weird factor to abruptly be recognized every where you go,” Oleynik mentioned. “I do not remember it hitting that out of the blue. I believe it was fairly gradual for me, so that by the purpose it was at its peak, I had some type of coping mechanism in place.”
Oleynik grew up on Television, spending her formative years on the present. Nevertheless, she and co-star Darris Love praised Nickelodeon and mentioned the community really encouraged the young actors to have a childhood. “We have been allowed to be children,” she said. “We did not have a lot pressure on us. Darris and I might rollerblade during our lunch breaks together.”
Love said his dressing room was at all times full of incentives. “We might come into our dressing room and it will be full of Gak and toys that come from our model and our product,” Love stated. “They knew we were children and we acquired first dibs. They have been incentives to be kids.”
Through the years, Love and Oleynik both mentioned the “Alex Mack” cast and crew turned its personal family. “I’ve worked on a variety of units, I’ve worked with lots of people and that i simply fairly by no means obtained that residence prefer it was being on ‘Alex Mack,'” Love said.
“What I really remember is beginning to kind our little household,” Oleynik echoed. “I used to be really shut with all of the women in wardrobe and make-up and I think for me, that’s what I actually remember … for the first time having that experience on set, that sort of tight-knit household unit.”
But there got here a time when Oleynik was ready to maneuver on. Lynch stated he introduced Oleynik, her mom and her supervisor with a bundle for a fifth season of the present, a function film and “a ton of cash” at a swanky Hollywood dinner and Oleynik turned him down.
“I’ve absolutely no regrets about that,” she mentioned. “It was an unimaginable factor he was offering me and that i knew that on the time, however I used to be a little bit burnt out. This has nothing to do with anyone concerned, or the present or with Nickelodeon, however I do not assume that I’ll ever work that onerous. I do not think that any job will ever really feel as laborious as a result of I put so much stress on myself to be so good at the whole lot.”
Oleynik stated she wanted to finish out her school profession and head to college and, at the identical time, depart Alex Mack with some innocence.
“For me, she was beginning to develop up and that final season, she gets a boyfriend … I don’t know, there was something about it and that i just type of needed to maintain it innocent,” she said. “I believe that we had 4 incredible seasons and I’m so proud of them.”
DID ALEX TAKE THE CURE?
“The key World of Alex Mack” ended its four-yr run with a cliffhanger. The finale noticed Alex’s secret revealed to her mother and father with Danielle Atron (Louan Gideon) practically triumphant, but good won over evil in the long run and Alex’s father offered her with a cure that might rid her of her powers. The final episode ended with Alex holding a vial of the cure, contemplating her future, smiling on the camera.
“I feel subconsciously I didn’t need it to finish,” he stated. “It was such a unique experience of my life of having success, creative management, a contented environment and one that was recognized as a sport-changing present. It was implausible.”
So, did Alex take the cure and lose her powers and dwell a normal life?
“She never did,” Lynch said with a giggle. “I liked the concept the choice would remain hers, if she took the medicine or not, if she took the cure or not. She was not going to be dictated to. That was my conscious thought in writing it … I wanted at the top — I did not want the world to dictate to her, I wanted her to dictate to herself what she was going to do.”
The place ARE THEY NOW?
In Lynch’s thoughts, the character of Alex Mack received a happy ending. In response to Lynch, at the moment Alex Mack is the mother of two teens, nonetheless utilizing her powers when want be with a clueless husband a la Darrin Stephens of “Bewitched.” Alex remains to be greatest buddies with Ray, who simply so happens to be a very profitable entrepreneur and owns inns and a few casinos in Las Vegas. Her sister, Annie (Meredith Bishop), is divorced, bitter, a bit of overweight and can’t perceive why Alex is so completely happy. Meanwhile, George Mack (Michael Blakley) became a billionaire thanks to an invention and its patent, Vince (John Marzilli) remains to be looking for Alex in a crazed, underground type of manner and Danielle Atron is simply getting out of jail and starting up an Internet pharmaceutical company.
Oleynik took subject with Lynch’s ideas. “Mother of two teenagers!?” she requested when advised of his ideas for Alex’s future. “Did I’ve them as quickly because the show ended? How do I have two teenagers?” In Oleynik’s mind, Alex is now an artwork teacher.
“One way or the other I think she’s a trainer, is that weird? I really feel like she’s a cool teacher, who’s nonetheless using her powers on the sly every occasionally to help out her favourite students,” she said. “I really feel like since highschool was such a bizarre place for her, someway, that is the place she finds herself being of use.”
In real life, Love is in the working to star in a Tupac biopic and Oleynik has just accomplished an indie movie, “BFFs,” and has recurring roles on “Pretty Little Liars” and “Mad Men.” However she will not — and cannot — spill any “Mad Males” spoilers. If she had her want, she’d get some scenes together with her on-display screen husband Ken Cosgrove, played by Aaron Staton.
“I literally know nothing about this new season, but when I had my dream, I simply want one solid scene with my husband. I need to know more about our relationship. I’m dying to know extra about our relationship,” she stated.
Lynch is working on creating new pilots and just wrapped “Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures” for Nickelodeon.
WILL THERE BE A REUNION?
“Oh god … I would positively be open to speaking about it with Tommy, seeing what sort of crazy concoction he has in his mind,” Oleynik stated about reprising the position of Alex Mack.
However Lynch has different issues in mind in addition to reuniting the unique forged. “I’d do a film as a remake to launch a series. I do not know if I would do a reunion as a result of I do not know if that might work,” he stated. “The concept I might undoubtedly do again. I feel with all the lady power stuff happening, I see the stuff on The CW. I feel the method to do ‘Alex Mack’ is to do it as a feature that goes into a sequence, I feel there is a strategy to do it that may nonetheless be cool and attention-grabbing. I did always need to see what she’d be like in college. Form of like ‘Felicity’ meets ‘Alex Mack,’ I feel it’d be sort of cool.”
“Right now there isn’t any motive you can’t do ‘Alex Mack’ again,” Love mentioned. “I all the time say this to myself and that i all the time anticipate that name, because every day I run right into a fan that’s like, ‘Why’d you guys ever stop it?’ I don’t know what to tell them …”
Love mentioned he may see a reunion working properly for the franchise. “I was hoping for at the least an ‘Alex Mack’ film, but a reunion can be by far because the factor is, now we’re adults and we are able to go further than we might as kids … it’s unlimited. I feel it’s a automobile that must be resurrected and whether or not it’s us concerned or how we’re involved, it would not matter. It’s a brand that’s nonetheless alive. Its coronary heart continues to be pumping and I think we need to revive it.”
While she has hesitant when speaking a couple of reunion, Oleynik was fast to say she’d prefer to be involved with a attainable reboot. “I would be extra fascinated with working with [Lynch] on that and being behind the scenes in form of like a retelling of it,” she mentioned.
“For me, I like the fact that this many years after the fact, I feel a sure kinship with individuals who still think of the present,” Oleynik mentioned. “It is fairly amazing. I’m grateful for that.
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