We all know Jennifer Beals from Flashdance — she with the off-the-shoulder sweatshirt. Now starring in Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming's new film The Anniversary Party, the Yale graduate told me a little secret over lunch on Wednesday.
She was nearly cast as Scully on The X Files when David Duchovny — whom she knew at Yale — recommended her for the part.
"They asked me to do that show," Beals said. "But I didn't get it. I still don't get it. With all due respect for the fans, I couldn't imagine doing it every day. I mean, I think their acting is very good, but I couldn't do it. To adhere yourself to a part for seven years like that, I would have a nervous breakdown. I've never seen the show. But I think Gillian Anderson is amazing, and so beautiful."
Beals — who's just a knockout at 38, with flawless skin and big brown eyes — cast a spell over Duchovny when they first met.
"He used to follow me around and ask me for dates," she says. I used to say, A) I don't know who you are. And B) I'm living with someone, so I think that's a problem. And then I go to this acting class in New York and who's in it? David 'the stalker' Duchovny!" she laughs. "I shouldn't call him a stalker. Then he and I became scene partners, and then we became friends! He's a very funny guy!"
Beals was cast in the mega hit Flashdance during the second week of her freshman year at Yale in 1982 — and wound up deferring college until the spring of '83. She finally graduated, but before she was done she married indie director Alexandre Rockwell. They split in 1996 after 10 years, but amicably, she says. "Our biggest problem was dividing up the ER tapes."
She's married now to a carpenter who has teenage kids. They live north of Los Angeles,and spend part of their time in Vancouver, British Columbia, but any more information is not forthcoming.
"He's asked me not to talk about him and I respect his wishes," she explains. "He's a very nice guy!"
She does tell me that her stepdaughter's favorite actor is Haley Joel Osment.
These days Beals is also getting ready to produce films. She's gotten bestselling mystery writer Walter Moseley to write a script based on an idea they cooked up.
"It's called Inside Job and the two main characters are women," Beals says. Fox Searchlight, a cousin of Foxnews.com, may put up the money. "We've been talking to them and they sound serious," she says.
She's also become an accomplished photographer, taking black-and-white pictures of the Anniversary Party cast and publishing them in Movieline and InStyle. She self-published a limited-edition book for the cast and crew, and may now shop the project to a commercial publisher. It's that good.