Kel­lie Martin re­vis­its

‘Death of a Cheer­leader’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Best Bets This Week - BY JAY BOB­BIN

For all that she’s done on tele­vi­sion – and she’s cer­tainly done a lot – “Death of a Cheer­leader” re­mains one of Kel­lie Martin’s most pop­u­lar cred­its.

That’s why the pro­duc­ers of a re­make were so ea­ger for her to par­tic­i­pate, they let her choose any role she wanted, within rea­son. She set­tled on play­ing an FBI agent who in­ves­ti­gates the mur­der of one high-school stu­dent by an­other in the fact-in­spired drama that Life­time presents in its new form Sat­ur­day, Feb. 2.

Also known as “A Friend to Die For,” the 1994 ver­sion cast Martin (who had just come off her se­ries run on “Life Goes On’) as a teen des­per­ate to be ac­cepted by a pop­u­lar peer, por­trayed by Tori Spelling (then star­ring on ”Bev­erly Hills, 90210“). Now, those parts be­long to Aubrey Peeples (”Nashville“) and Sarah Dug­dale (”Su­per­nat­u­ral“) re­spec­tively, but Martin is pleased to be on board as well.

“I think my first re­ac­tion was that I gig­gled,” she re­calls of get­ting the re­make of­fer. “First I thought, ‘How great,’ be­cause it’s such a fas­ci­nat­ing story that I wasn’t sur­prised that they wanted to re­visit it. Se­condly, I thought, ‘Am I this old? Is that what it is?”’

The FBI role ap­pealed to Martin largely be­cause she could be in the story’s big in­ter­ro­ga­tion scene ... again. How­ever, she’s on the other side of the table this time.

“It was writ­ten for a man,” Martin re­ports. “I re­mem­ber feel­ing pretty gut­ted through the en­tire shoot­ing of the (orig­i­nal) movie. I think I was 17, and ev­ery sin­gle day was fraught with the max­i­mum amount of emo­tion. With this, I could be clear-eyed and get (the sus­pect) to start talk­ing.”

Martin rea­sons that her play­ing such an un­ex­pected twist was a big fac­tor in the mid-’90s im­pact “Death of a Cheer­leader” had: “I feel like peo­ple were able to iden­tify with the char­ac­ter on a cer­tain level, and then she did some­thing so hor­ri­ble, that was a big sur­prise.”

At this stage of her ca­reer and life, mar­ried mother-of-two Martin – a Hall­mark Chan­nel sta­ple lately, en­com­pass­ing love sto­ries and the lighter “Hai­ley Dean” mysteries – ad­mits that such in­tense drama is “not a place

I like to go, and I find that I don’t re­ally choose those parts any­more. It’s in­ter­est­ing to re­visit this, though.”

Brid­get Moretti (left) and Kel­lie Martin

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