FOX-y Lady (Mania.com)
By:Arnold T. Blumberg
Date: Wednesday, July 10, 2002
You may know her very well and be afraid to admit it in mixed company, or you may somehow be a living breathing American male and not be aware of Ashlyn Gere, one of the most popular and prolific adult stars of the '80s and early '90s. In any event, whether you know Ashlyn Gere from her extensive body of work (ahem) in adult films or not, you may have encountered her in more 'mainstream' entertainment and never realized it. Sometimes credited as 'Kimberly Ashlyn Gere' or 'Kimberly Patton,' Gere made quite a mark on genre television when she was repeatedly tapped by producers Glen Morgan and James Wong to appear in many of their productions throughout the '90s.
In a series of impressive guest roles on key genre series like THE X-FILES and MILLENNIUM, Gere proved that she had the chops to handle serious acting. Anyone who has seen her other work (not that we know any of them) knows that she frequently stood out in that industry as an actor as well, and not just as a 'performer.' Audiences are slowly realizing that Gere has genuine talent, but no one needed to tell her that. She's been an actress for years, and when coaxed to comment on the 'wall' between the adult and mainstream entertainment worlds, Gere dismisses the idea entirely.
"For me, there was no 'wall.' By the time I started adult, I had already been in theater productions and done six low budget horror movies like EVIL LAUGH, CREEPAZOIDS, and MISSING CHILDREN. [I had also appeared in] local TV commercials."
With actors like Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, and Robert DeNiro as influences, Gere nevertheless found herself in what some may consider the marginalized world of pornography. First appearing in a photo shoot for PENTHOUSE, Gere starred in an enormous number of film and video releases over the years, gaining a reputation as a serious actress in an adult performer's body. Recognized repeatedly with the industry's highest awards, Gere was a big star in an underground industry, but soon she would be faced with an unexpected transition into the realm of network television.
"I was lucky, right place, right time. I met Glen Morgan and he is one of the most generous and honest producers in Hollywood, along with his partner, James Wong. First they put me in THE X-FILES, which was a wonderful experience."
In the Season 2 episode, "Blood," Gere played a housewife driven to murder a garage mechanic when a secret government project designed to instill fear and paranoia in the general public convinces her that he is about to rape her. Later, an encounter with investigating agent Fox Mulder leads to a near fatal knife attack on the unsuspecting Fed, but Gere's character is subdued. It's an explosive turn that showcases Gere's intensity and made many people sit up and take notice.
One person who couldn't sit up, however, was X-FILES star David Duchovny, who is straddled by Gere in one scene and no doubt remembers the meeting well...as does Gere.
"David Duchovny was warm and giving," says Gere. "We had lunch in his trailer and played catch with his dog outside on our break."
Gere didn't interact nearly as much with Duchovny's co-star. "Gillian was beautiful, but I didn't spend too much time with her. She was pregnant when we were shooting."
Shortly after her appearance on THE X-FILES, Gere found herself with an even more exciting opportunity courtesy of Morgan and Wong.
"At that time, Glen and James were working on the pilot for SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND and told me if it went to series they would write me in as one of the lead villains. Well, it went to series, and they kept their word."
Ashlyn Gere (right), AKA Kimberly Patton, as Feliciti the AI on SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND
Gere starred as Feliciti, a Terminator-like android with eerie cross-hair enhanced eyeballs actually painted contact lenses. With her most substantial mainstream role to date, Gere went to town in appearances that were well-received by SPACE fans. For Gere, playing a villain was a welcome change.
"It was a dream come true for me, although we only lasted one year. Very political in Hollywood, you know."
Morgan and Wong next cast Gere as "Clear Knight," part of a Nazi-like cult fighting the Millennium Group in, of course, MILLENNIUM. The two-part story led into yet another television role in Morgan & Wong's pilot, THE NOTORIOUS 7, which gained an infamy of its own when it failed to make the fall schedule despite critical acclaim. For a time, this looked like the end of the road for Gere's collaboration with the two producers.
"They called me for a part in the film FINAL DESTINATION, but I had to turn it down due to prior bookings."
This past February, however, Gere reunited with her biggest supporters on the set of a major motion picture release, THE ONE, starring Jet Li. Arriving in theaters this fall, the film features Gere as "a doctor, so watch for me."
Despite the slow but sure 'mainstreaming' of pornography that seems to be taking place these days, there is still an undeniable stigma to working in that industry. Given her role in THE ONE and the prospect of more film work ahead, you might assume that Gere is finished with adult performing, but she has no plans to turn her back on the business that made her famous.
"This year I'll be shooting two more videos for the company I started with in adult VCA," says Gere. "They are the largest company and have always been very good to me. I can't wait. After that, you'll be able to see me on my own website, which I run myself, not some big corporation www.ashlyn.com. I'll shoot scenes for my site and for some close friends' sites only.
Ashlyn Gere at a convention appearance
© Ashlyn Gere/www.ashlyn.com
Although she remains committed to her adult work, Gere is definitely interested in pursuing other mainstream roles. "Anybody out there hiring?" Gere half-jokes. She also plans to open either an adult store or a neighborhood bar & grill in her home town of Las Vegas. But when asked the cliché question lobbed at all actors, Gere is adamant she's not interested in directing.
"Even though I've co-directed and produced, unless a company offered me a great contract, I'm not really going in that direction. Of course, we can always talk," says Gere. She also takes issue with the notion that adult films are only now edging into the mainstream.
"I think we've always been there on one level or another. Remember, 'sex sells.' It just depends on the people willing to take a chance the kindness of strangers." If Gere keeps garnering approval for her genre work, they won't be strangers much longer.