Jennifer Beals – How fear brought her to ‘Last Tycoon’

Jennifer Beals

Fitness has always been important to Jennifer Beals, so much so that there was a time not long ago when you would see the 53-year-old former “Flashdance” star competing in triathlons.

Running, biking and swimming – there were races in all three, and while Beals admits she was always too slow to win, just getting through one of these grueling events was a victory in itself.

“It’s such a feeling of accomplishment,” says Beals, who stars in the new Amazon series “The Last Tycoon,” “and there’s a camaraderie in the race and training for a race and there’s a sense of expansion. Once you challenge yourself with something you’ve never done before, there’s a sense of expansion that’s incredibly gratifying.”

“The Last Tycoon,” which is based on the final novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald, follows the power struggle between a 1930s Hollywood studio boss (Kelsey Grammer, “Boss,” “Frasier”) and an up-and-coming executive (Matt Bomer, “American Horror Story,” “White Collar”), set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the growing influence of Hitler’s Germany.

Beals plays Margo Taft, a movie star and Hollywood royalty with a knack for getting what she wants, a role she says gave her the same sense of exhilaration as running a triathlon.

“When (‘Tycoon’ showrunner) Billy Ray called me and told me about the part and offered me the part, I hung up the phone and immediately started shaking,” Beals recalls. “I was so afraid, and I knew that I was afraid because it was something that meant something to me and that I was excited by and that would ask a lot of me.

“And I knew I had to do it,” she says with a laugh. “Fear is a really good indicator for me that it’s something that I need to do – at least with work.”

Jennifer Sue Beals

Birth date: Dec. 19, 1963

Birthplace: Chicago

Alma mater: Yale University

Family ties: She and husband Ken Dixon, a Canadian entrepreneur, have an 11-year-old daughter

TV credits include: “Faerie Tale Theatre,” “2000 Malibu Road,” “The Outer Limits,” “Nothing Sacred,” “The Hunger,” “Law & Order,” “Frasier,” “The L Word,” “Lie to Me,” “The Chicago Code,” “Castle,” “The Mob Doctor,” “Lauren,” “Motive,” “Proof,” “The Night Shift,” “Taken”

Movie credits include: “My Bodyguard” (1980), “Flashdance” (1983), “The Bride” (1985), “Vampire’s Kiss” (1988), “Blood and Concrete” (1991), “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle” (1994), “Devil in a Blue Dress” (1995), “The Last Days of Disco” (1998), “The Anniversary Party” (2001), “Roger Dodger” (2002), “Runaway Jury” (2003), “The Grudge 2” (2006), “The Book of Eli” (2010), “Manhattan Night” (2016), “White Orchid” (forthcoming)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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