Exclusive Interview : Harley Jane Kozak


“Parenthood” and “Aracanophobia” star now an author!

You’ll know Harley Jane Kozak from her work in the films “Parenthood”, “Aracanophobia”, “The Taking of Beverly Hills” and “All I want for Christmas”. Now the beautiful actress is tackling a new medium… books, as the author of a series of wildly successfull Mystery novels. CLINT MORRIS talks to her about her latest effort, “Dead Ex”.

Are you still acting, or writing full-time now?
I’m writing full-time, in addition to being a mom to three kids (a second-grader and 2 kindergartners) so acting is, for now, on the shelf.

Where does the interest in writing come from?
I always loved writing, but never really thought of doing it professionally until my mid-thirties. Up until then, I contented myself with long essays when we had essay questions in school, on tests, or else in writing long (LONG!) letters to my friends while on location, acting. I also dabbled in plays, screenplays, song lyrics . . . then one day, a short story I was working on kept growing and growing, and 8+ years later became DATING DEAD MEN.

Tell me about your latest book?
I’m still writing about Wollie Shelley, the L.A. greeting card artist introduced in DATING DEAD MEN and DATING IS MURDER. Wollie is now the “dating correspondent” on a cheesy cable TV show called “SoapDirt” which is to say, she’s dating soap opera actors and dishing about them. However, when the producer of the popular soap “At the End of the Day” turns up murdered, Wollie’s best friend Joey is blamed for the crime and Wollie jumps in to help. And oh: the dead producer was the ex-boyfriend of both Wollie and Joey, which explains the book’s title. emotions run high.

Would ever consider writing a screenplay?
Absolutely. But I want to take a class in it. Despite having starred in a dozen films and read hundreds, writing one is a different thing altogether.

What about these books – would they make good movies?
Why, yes — I certainly think so! The trick is getting a lot of other people to think so. People with . . . you know. Money.

Looking back on your acting career, do you have a favourite film you’ve done?
The one I most loved making was a goofy sci-fi movie called THE ANDROID AFFAIR. In fact, it was during the filming that I began writing DATING DEAD MEN, during my “down” time.

Can you talk about working with Steve Martin and Rick Moranis in “Parenthood”?
“Parenthood” was early in my film career and I was so star-struck that it took me about 3 weeks to relax. Rick was really wonderful. He made it his mission to drag me to dinner and make sure I was okay and gave me pointers on how to work on film. I’d had a lot of TV experience by then, doing 5 years of soaps, 5 days a week, but film is different. Jason Robards, who played my dad, was similarly generous. A really amazing man. Steve Martin is, in my humble opinion, one of the great comic geniuses of our generation. He was a relatively quiet guy in real life, though. Not among his close friends, but certainly with the world at large, unless he was actually “on.” I think he’s a very sensitive man and obviously a really intelligent one.

And what about all those spiders in “Arachnophobia”? (I’m surprised they haven’t remade that yet – they’re remaking everything else!)
I had no problems with the spiders. We had Spider Tutorials the first week of work, before we even started shooting, so that we could bond with them. Okay, that’s not quite true. I bonded with them a tiny bit, in a general way, but I had no particular favorites. I just have a general appreciation for the whole species and think twice before I kill one. Not that it keeps me from killing them, but I do have a small moment of prayer prior to their death.

Who can you see as Wollie Shelley in a movie?
Honestly? Any actress who loves the books and has enough stature in Hollywood to get the movie made!

To find out more about Harley’s new book “Dead Ex” click here.