Laura Leighton: The Bitch Is Back

Laura Leighton: The Bitch Is Back

The most notorious resident of Melrose Place from 1993 to 1997, Sydney Andrews was a backstabber, a blackmailer, and a really bad roommate. Laura Leighton scored a Golden Globe nomination for playing the manipulative man-eater, who was hit and presumably killed by a runaway car in the fifth season finale. But for the new Melrose Place reboot premiering tonight on the CW, Sydney’s been resurrected, albeit briefly, as landlord of the apartment complex she once terrorized. Currently topping EW’s “Must List” 15 years after first gracing that magazine’s cover, Leighton — now married to Doug Savant, who played gay Melrose Place resident Matt Fielding — proves that only the strong and scandalous survive. Laura, I’m a Melrose Place fanatic and I’ve been watching YouTube clips from the original Melrose all weekend to prep for Tuesday’s big debut. I just came across the scene where Sydney gets beaten up by a bunch of street whores.
Laura Leighton: Oh, my gosh! [Laughs] I would never have remembered that if you hadn’t said anything about it. I’m constantly being reminded about story lines from the show, and I don’t remember them until people mention them. Someone else just reminded me of the time when Jane was in a wheelchair for some reason and Sydney was pushing her around, slamming her into doors, and crashing her into walls. So funny.

Is there one scene from the original series that does stand out in your memory?
When I’m reminded of these scenes I haven’t thought of in a while, I do remember laughing while we were doing them. But what sticks out in my mind most is Jane and Sydney’s "wedding dress in the pool" scene. There was press there for the shooting and everyone was making a huge deal out of it. It was such a big event.

Until the day she was struck down by a car on her wedding day, Sydney never could catch a break. Did she not deserve happiness?
I think she deserved it, but she was constantly sabotaging it. Just when things were looking up for her, she managed to mess it all up. For the most part, she was always driven by her desire to be like her sister, Jane, which was never going to be. She idolized Jane and wanted everything she had, but she couldn’t figure out a way to get it that wouldn’t screw her up.

Speaking of Jane with her cheesy boutique and clothing line, the mid ’90s weren’t always kind to you girls as far as fashion goes.
And I can’t say the guys had it any better. When we first got our season 1 DVD box set a few years back, Doug and I popped it in just to show our kids, who are old enough now to check it out, and they went, “Oh, my God, Dad, what are you wearing?” Doug was in some terrible argyle thing and his hair was all up and over.

Were you aware of your gay following back in the day?
Yeah, and I’m
 so flattered by it. I had a terrific character that was so fun to watch
 and talk about, so I was thrilled to have a following — gay, straight,
 anybody who appreciated the character. I remember back in ’90s people
 saying they were going to parties dressed as Sydney. It was awesome.


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