In the ’80s, Donna Mills was the original TV arch-villainess as Abby on Knots Landing catapulting her to enormous fame in the golden age of TV soaps.


While the series was overshadowed by DallasKnots Landing was actually created first by the same man. “David Jacobs was the creator, he created Knots Landing, brought it to CBS and they said, ‘Well that’s nice, but we want something a little more rich and big,’ so he created Dallas,” Mills told uInterview exclusively. “But he put some of the characters that he had in Knots Landing into Dallas so that he could spin it off.” Knots Landing is more reminiscent of Jacobs’ usual fare, she noted, because it’s more “real, and about real people, and the storylines were about real people.”

The actress thinks there are some parallels to today’s TV world. “I think today the closest thing in television to what Knots Landing was is This Is Us,” she said. “They deal, in deeper ways than we did, with real people… it’s nice to see that kind of thing coming around again.”

Mills recalled what it was like to play such an evil female character. “You know, it was great,” she began. “As an actress, you want something to really get you going, and that’s what that was. You got to do all the things on screen that you never got to do in real life. Steal husbands, steal businesses, and it was so much fun,” she laughed. “And the writers were fantastic, they really came up with great stuff for Abby to do, and you never knew what it was she was gonna do and which way she was gonna go, but they gave her another level too. She wasn’t just a caricature, she was a real person, she had a heart, she had real vulnerabilities, you never saw those vulnerabilities except when she was alone… that was a genius way for the writers to let people into that character and identify with her.”

Still, there were things Mills wouldn’t let Abby do. “When Val’s babies were going to be kidnapped, and they said, ‘Oh, we’ll have Abby do it.’ And I went screaming into their office and said, ‘No, no, if you want me to stay on this show, the audience will not forgive that, and it’s, in my opinion, not something that Abby would do.’ She’s a mother, that’s the one place where her heart really is.” So in the end, the writers made it appear that Abby was behind the kidnapping, but actually Abby was the hero who found and saved the babies, all thanks to Mills pushing.

When asked about her favorite behind-the-scenes moment on the show, Mills struggled to think of just one. “There were so many,” she said. “I mean for me, nine years, and we had a blast. If you look at the show now, there’s a lot of humor in the show, a lot of comedy, we just loved shooting it, we all got along great, still do. There’s not any one particular time, but just kind of the whole thing. The crew, everybody, and we worked really, really hard.”

Mills recently wrapped a role on the indie film Best Mom. “I play the mom of the mom, and it’s a little independent feature, but I liked the script very much, I think the script is very deep and a subject that I’d never seen attacked before,” she said. It’s about a mom who wants to be a better mom… She’s searching for a way to make her relationship with her daughter better, and it actually ends up being through an improv group.”

Best Mom, directed by Kuang Lee, is slated for release in 2018.

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