BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Aug. 7, 2000 — To find your favorite ’80s music icon, one can merely flip to VH-1’s “Behind the Music” special and learn about their bouts with depression, drugs, breakups and comeback attempts.
To find Cyndi Lauper, flip to a “Mad About You” rerun, and you’ll likely see her in her Emmy-winning role as Marianne, Ira’s loud ex-wife. Or check out the big screen this summer, where she’ll be costarring with Christopher Walken in First Look Pictures’ “The Opportunists.”
Walken plays an ex-con now trying to live an honest life as an auto mechanic. But when a stranger (Peter McDonald) who claims to be an old cousin arrives and asks him to help in a last heist, Walken risks his stable life for the money. Lauper plays his girlfriend Sally, who loves him but doesn’t want to watch him go to jail.
“That was the tough one,” Lauper says of her character’s dilemma. “But sometimes you gotta just do the right thing, otherwise it’s just gonna get worse, or that’s what I thought she was thinking.”
While Lauper is sporting a mane of purple/white/black hair nowadays (purple is a “healing color,” she says), her character in “The Opportunists” is much more subdued, the opposite of her gum-snapping “Mad About You” role. Lauper says she was attracted to the film, after previous big-screen turns in “Vibes” and “Life With Mikey,” because of its realistic portrayal of down-on-the-luck life in Queens.
“I’ve been told my whole life there’s a list of rules about what’s right and what’s wrong, but all my life there’s been a gray area where real people live. And I guess that’s what attracted me to this film, too, because this was the gray area where real people live,” Lauper says. “They don’t have cars blow up, big shoot ’em up, blah blah blah. … This is where real people live and where real people can’t deal with the rules cause they’re different or whatever.”
Lauper is no stranger to breaking rules; after all, her first album, appropriately titled “She’s So Unusual,” spawned four Top Five singles and established the singer-songwriter as the force behind the happy anthem “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Fifteen years later, the wacky wife and mother (son Declyn Wallace was born in 1997) is still moving with the times.
“I oughtta tell all those people who used to yell at me all the time and call me ‘comedian,’ that now I have an Emmy to prove it,” Lauper laughs.
Lauper’s next album is due in 2001. In the meantime, “The Opportunists” is set to open Aug. 11.