Fantasy Island Dan Lauria and Alley Mills

Fantasy Island lets The Wonder Years’ Alley Mills and Dan Lauria flip the script

The next trip to FOX‘s Fantasy Island will be a blast from TV sitcoms’ past. “The War of the Roses (and the Hutchinsons)” recruits The Wonder Years stars Dan Lauria and Alley Mills to play another longtime couple. However, these characters couldn’t be more different from Jack and Norma Arnold! They find themselves at odds with another couple visiting the island—so will their feud turn everyone’s fantasies into a domestic nightmare?

I spoke with Alley and Dan to talk about working together once again and their experience filming Fantasy Island in Puerto Rico. While it seems like this episode is a perfect parody of their Wonder Years roles, that’s not what initially happened. “They weren’t looking for both of us. It just happened by fluke,” Alley confided. “But then they thought it was a fun idea. It sort of fits in with their guest star idea,” as the show has also reunited cast members from Desperate Housewives and Melrose Place.

“We’ve got to give our agent a little credit for that,” Dan added. “When he probably threw out the idea and they jumped on it.”

Dan and Alley have worked together on other projects since The Wonder Years ended in 1993, but FOX’s remake of Fantasy Island was relatively new to them both. “I saw last season, just to see what the show was like,” Alley said. “I have a friend, Kiara [Barnes], who’s on it. She did the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful with me, so I watched the pilot episode, that was wonderful.”

“It’s an astonishing thing,” she added of filming the episode. “At the helm are all women, which makes a difference when you pick a crew. The crew was the nicest people I think I’ve ever worked with—incredibly kind and fun…So that made it a wonderful experience for us.”

Alley Mills and Brandon Scott in the “The War of the Roses” episode of Fantasy Island. (Photo Credit: Laura Magruder/ Courtesy of FOX.)

But what happens in the show is definitely not wonderful. Their characters end up going head-to-head with another couple, portrayed by Brandon Scott and Devika Bhise, and the result is pretty much the opposite of what viewers loved on The Wonder Years. This time, it’s Alley’s character who is the more outspoken—and she becomes the vacation equivalent of the neighbor from hell.

“I liked Alley playing grumpy,” Dan laughed. “[Her character] didn’t want to talk to the neighbors. Because she’s so easygoing. Alley has always been a spark plug and to see her play grumpy, instead of me playing grumpy, was kind of fun.”

“I’ve never played a kind of awful person before with him,” she continued. “He was the nice guy and I was just this neighbor that was not going to get over having been slighted. She was pissed off that her tree had been cut down. That was different [from] what we normally play together, because I’m usually sort of acquiescent to his grumpy.”

That’s not the only new side of them that audiences will get to check out in the episode, though. “Dan’s a real golfer, and there’s a lot of golf in this,” Alley said. “He’s really a good golfer. I got to see him hit a hole-in-one from like five acres away. That was pretty cool.”

“But I broke my wrist,” Dan revealed. “I haven’t played since. We had a couple of physical [injuries].”

“I broke my ribs when I was in Puerto Rico,” Alley added. But they both agreed that the acting experience of Fantasy Island was great, and it’s a new chapter in their working relationship. Aside from their TV marriage, the duo have done a number of readings together and recently co-starred on stage. This episode is another chance for them to delight fans, while also praising the FOX series as having surpassed its 1970s predecessor.

“I think that they’re doing a really great job,” Alley enthused. “They just take a fact of life—like in this case, it’s unhappiness about living next to people. I know a lot of people whose lives are destroyed by a bad neighbor. It seems like a very strange little random topic, but they actually go in depth. The creators of [Fantasy Island] are doing a really great job bringing it back that way. The star of it [Roselyn Sanchez] couldn’t be a lovelier actress; she’s just such an angel and gracious. And as I said, the crew…I’m really happy that I went, and I wish them success.”

“I agree with Alley,” Dan concluded. “Usually when they do copies of shows, it’s a disappointment, but this one I think actually raises the bar.”

Fantasy Island airs Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.

Article content is (c)2020-2023 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr and on Instagram at @BFTVGram.

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