One of the trickiest parts for an actress who plays a seductress is finding the chemistry with fellow actors to make conquests seem real.
For Jamie Luner, that task was made easier in the Lifetime movie "The Perfect Boss."
One of the objects of her attention is played by Linden Ashby, who played her husband in the early '90s on the original "Melrose Place."
"It was terrific to get to work with him again," Luner says. "As actors, you are thrown into intimate situations very quickly and the job is to find that connection with one another. In this case, the trust already was there so it made it a lot easier. We were ahead of the game."
As a veteran of cable movies, Luner is familiar with the need for such shortcuts.
When she started making cable films, the shooting schedule was 23 days, a time frame no one thought was long enough. The schedules have only tightened, with "The Perfect Boss" shot in 16 days.
The movie starts with the beautiful and successful Jessica Slade (Luner), a drug company executive who will use any tactic to get what she wants. In this case, it's the need to get a quick approval from the FDA on a new drug.
Her efforts are complicated by a researcher who discovers a deadly truth about the new drug and the arrival of Slade's mother, a woman who also will use any means to get what she wants.
The shooting schedule for the cable movie was fast, but it moved at a snail's pace compared to Luner's days on the daytime drama "All My Children," where one-hour episodes were filmed in a day.
"For the first six months, I cried every day," Luner says. "I just couldn't get my head around memorizing all of that material. And, because I was playing the district attorney, it wasn't like I could just make up lines. What I would do would be reading the script until the director called for action, then I would hide the script. When the scene was done, I would pull out the script and start reading it again."
It took some time, but Luner's memorization skills improved.
"The Perfect Boss" and "All My Children" are just two credits in a long career that started with the late 1980s comedy "Just the Ten of Us," when she was only 17. Since then, her work has ranged from starring in the NBC series "Profiler" to seven movies airing on Lifetime over the last few years.
The constant is that Luner's often cast as the femme fatale. Playing those type characters isn't as easy as slipping on a slinky dress and batting her eyes. Luner sees these women as not that different from the hero; they just go to more extremes to accomplish their goals.
"It happens to be a good niche for me," Luner says with a provocative laugh. "I do have a tendency to do those kind of characters, but in my last few movies I played a mom and a teacher. I like to do a lot of different roles, but I am the one they think of for the femme fatale roles."
"The Perfect Boss": 8 p.m. Friday on Lifetime Movie Network
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.
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