MADCHEN AMICK Actress' career drifts through small roles
After playing several romantic roles, Amick still searches for her niche.
By KATE O'HARE
"I'm representing the single women out there," says actress Madchen Amick, "dating around, trying to find the right guy who respects you and appreciates you. Maybe I'll settle down somewhere. Gotta keep looking."
Amick has begun a five-episode stint on NBC's "Friends" spin-off "Joey" (other announced airdates are Thursday and April 28), playing Sarah, the new love interest for Hollywood neophyte Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc).
"It's actually new territory for Joey," Amick says, "because the audience never really saw him engage any one girl. This is the first time you really see him romantically involved and everything that goes with that. It's time for Joey to grow up."
Amick has also been playing the recurring role of social worker Wendall Meade, the latest love interest of Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle), on NBC's "ER."
And, Amick appeared in the pilot for ABC's "Jake in Progress," playing Kylie, the date of the title character, played by John Stamos. In the original idea, the whole season was to track this single date.
"It didn't work out that way," Amick says. "It's too bad, I thought that was a great idea."
Asked which of these three TV hunks is the best kisser, Amick says, "Hmmm, I didn't get to kiss Noah very often; didn't get to kiss Stamos at all. But I've had a lot of kisses with Matt, so I have to say, it goes to Matt."
In the meantime, Amick is doing what almost every other actor without a steady gig is doing -- auditioning for pilots. She's not thrilled with what she's seeing.
"It seems like the pilots, in general, are written well," she says, "but I didn't see any concepts that were different than anything else. It was very heavy in dramas as well, not that many comedies. But they always follow the trend of what's on right now."
Amick speaks from experience when it comes to TV projects that are out of the ordinary. During the 1990-91 season on ABC, Amick played Shelly Johnson on "Twin Peaks," created by Mark Frost ("Hill Street Blues") and film auteur David Lynch ("Dune," "Blue Velvet," "Mulholland Drive").
"'Twin Peaks' hit big and fast," Amick recalls. "It was one of the first things I had done. I was fresh out of Reno, Nev., innocent and young, came to Hollywood."
Kyle MacLachlan starred as FBI Agent Dale Cooper, who arrives in the bizarre Pacific Northwest hamlet of Twin Peaks to investigate the mysterious death of prom queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).
Although the show, a late midseason replacement, only aired two seasons (the first was quite brief), it has continued to live on in TV lore and among its devoted fans as one of the strangest, but most original, series to ever air on network television.
"As far as I understand," Amick says, "Lynch never intended it to be more than one season. It was not a good mixture with the network. The network never believed it, never stood behind it. They just wanted to bury it. They put us against 'Cheers' on Thursday night."
While Amick may have worked on more conventional hits since, she says, "Everything hasn't ever really lived up to that. It was such a rare, special thing. It changed television for its time. It introduced me to a world and a creator like David Lynch, which is completely different than everyone and anything else, but completely brilliant at the same time.
"It can work. It can be brilliant, and it can be embraced. It's like he went into Hollywood and said, 'No, no, it can work. I've seen it. It doesn't have to be your average, cookie-cutter, safe thing. It can work."'
Michael J. Anderson, who made memorable appearances as the backward-talking little person in the "Twin Peaks" series and subsequent movies, now is one of the stars of HBO's Depression-era dark fantasy "Carnivale." While Amick says she doesn't follow that show, she did audition for its Sunday-night time slot neighbor, the gritty Western "Deadwood."
"When they were casting it," she says, "my representation was trying to get me on it. But they wanted to go very different, very quirky. They didn't want any conventional beauties in it. I'm not a conventional beauty. Visit me when I wake up in the morning -- I'll fit in."
With the show very likely to return for a third season, Amick hasn't given up hope. "I'll be a drifter who blows through town," she says. "I could come in, lighten things up and then saunter off into the sunset."