Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Thirtysomething' Nice Guy Takes Nasty Turn in Film

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Thirtysomething' Nice Guy Takes Nasty Turn in Film

Article excerpt

KEN OLIN, that nice guy from "thirtysomething," may be playing a much-married, murderous charmer in NBC's two-part "Dead by Sunset," which concludes at 8 tonight on Channel 5.

But arriving for melon, coffee and a midmorning interview at a fashionable bistro, he's very much the suburbanite in exercise togs, sneakers and cap.

He lives in neighboring Brentwood. But he and his wife, Patricia Wettig (also of "thirtysomething" and late of "Courthouse"), and their two children are moving to Santa Monica after enduring more than a year of the O.J. Simpson fuss on Rockingham Avenue, a quarter-mile from their house.

"Dead by Sunset" was filmed in Portland, Ore., where the actual case happened.

"As soon as I arrived on the set, I realized that this was going to take an incredible amount of effort and that nothing short of a total commitment to the part was going to work," Olin recalled. "At every point in the script, he (Olin's character) is at some intense emotional or psychological level, whether he's revealing it or not.

"With this kind of part you have to jump right in, and hope when it's over the composite of the different scenes and emotions will coalesce into something that makes sense."

Television schedules don't allow much time to analyze characters during filming, but he had done research into the psychopathy of people like Cunningham. Olin also talked to people who had known him. But the actor decided against talking to Cunningham in prison.

"I realized that my desire to meet with him was a function of my trying to overcome my fear of him," he said. "I would never be able to imitate him for a number of reasons: physical, emotional.

"I didn't want to be in a situation where I felt every time I'd do something I would evaluate whether it was exactly how he would do it. That would be very inhibiting."

He admitted that he was tough to live with during the two-month filming, since characters can have the knack of entering an actor's psyche.

"I'd be in serious trouble if this character got deep in my psyche," he added with a smile. …

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