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'The Beautician and the Beast' close to Dresher's roots

scenes February 7, 1997
Web posted at: 3:30 a.m. EST

From Correspondent Gloria Hillard

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The hills are alive with the sound of ... hair dryers?

Actually it's Fran Drescher in her new film, "The Beautician and The Beast," in which she plays a beauty school teacher recruited to teach the children of the president of a fictitious Eastern European country.

movie icon The Beautician and the Beast trailer
5.1MB / 2:20 sec. QuickTime movie
movie icon The Beautician and the Beast clip
1.2MB / 35 sec. QuickTime movie

It's kind of "The Nanny" meets the Van Trapp family of the 90s, if you will.

The role of a Spandex-wearing, nasal-voiced, big-haired beautician wasn't a stretch for Drescher. After all, once upon a time, the actress did the cutting and blow drying herself.

"Yeah, I was a beautician (and) spent my thousand hours just in case acting didn't work out," she says, "but ultimately it did give me lots of information to write funny stuff about."

So when Drescher decided to develop a film project for herself as a transition from her hit TV show, "The Nanny," to the big screen, playing the idiosyncratic hair dresser wasn't much of a stretch.

"It's very exciting," she says. "I'm starring in my first film."

Old hand at Hollywood

Drescher isn't a novice to the ways of film, however. In fact, her first movie was with John Travolta in the 1977 megahit "Saturday Night Fever."

"The Beautician and The Beast" has similar star power. Co- star Timothy Dalton, who plays the dastardly dictator Boris Pochenko, made his film debut with Katherine Hepburn in the 1968 film "A Lion in Winter." And then there was the James Bond thing.

"I once went up to the North Pole and all the Eskimos came and said 'James Bond, James Bond.' In moments like that -- when the world looks at you as this character -- it's difficult to be yourself, to truly be yourself," Dalton says.

Instead of dealing with the intrigue and danger of a Bond film, "The Beautician and the Beast" gave Dalton a chance to try his hand at comedy.

"I do a lot of comedy in the theater, but I rarely do it in the movies, so that was a thrill," he says.

For Drescher, the film meant different things.

"That fact that I'm sitting here selling a movie that rests on my shoulders really makes me realize where I am in my career," she says.

If things had been different, when someone yelled 'Cut!' Drescher may have reached for a pair of scissors.

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