Shannon Tweed admits that Sophie and Nick – her kids with husband and KISS rocker Gene Simmons - may have discovered a new way to rebel. Stay out of trouble.
“They’re 21 and 25 and they haven’t drank yet,” says the Newfoundland-born onetime Playboy Playmate of the Year. “I think Nick had a bourbon once just to look cool. And that’s it; they don’t seem to want to. I did everything under the sun.”
Such conflict as there is in Shannon and Sophie – the mother-daughter reality series which airs its fourth episode this week on W – is “kind of based on me becoming the child, and she’s become the mother.”
Between following Sophie’s attempts to break into the business as a singer-songwriter and actress, “the conflict-as-comedy consists of her trying to rein me in. I’ll be trying to convince her to have a cocktail or to stop dressing so conservatively. I’ll be like, ‘Date a little more, have some fun!’”
(And indeed, this week’s episode – Shannon Goes To The Dogs – includes a sub-plot about the 21-year-old Sophie’s putative new boyfriend).
Wednesday, Tweed makes a rare visit to her former home of Toronto (her Canadian visits these days are mainly with family in Saskatchewan).
The occasion: the 35th anniversary of the Canadian-produced Bill Murray movie Meatballs. Though she wasn’t in the original, she’s there as part of the ”Meatballs family” at the request of her friend Don Carmody, who produced her in Meatballs 3 opposite a then-unknown Patrick Dempsey. “He was pretty young,” she recalls of Dempsey, “He definitely wasn’t McDreamy yet.”
The event at Toronto’s Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lighthouse includes producer/writer Daniel Goldberg, Chris Makepeace (who played Rudy Gerner, the shy kid Murray’s cool counsellor Trip Harrison took under his wing) and Harvey Atkin (schlemiel head counsellor Morty Melnick). It’s a fundraiser for the international charity Action Against Hunger.
“I didn’t know if I was going to have the time, between launching the new show,” Tweed says. “But if there’s a need and I’m available I’m willing to be there.”
Tweed’s family, of course, got their reality-TV close-up over six seasons on Gene Simmons Family Jewels.
“I kind of have stage-fright as myself – not when I’m playing a character. So I resisted that series for a while. But looking back, y’know, we never had a finale, and people were kind of wanting to know what happened to the kids.
“Nick was going to college, Sophie was in high school. So we took it from there.”
Turns out Nick is following in his dad’s footsteps musically – albeit without the 10-inch platforms. “His music is kind of a cross between White Stripes and Jim Morrison, with a little blues thrown in, while Sophie’s more pop-rock.”
Tweed could keep herself busy just managing Sophie’s career.
“Sophie is on her second movie. She’s writing a book about body image and young people. She does an online thing for Cosmopolitan and she’s recording an EP for Universal Canada.”
I point out that reality-TV shows about celebrity kids, usually involve brats (think Princes of Malibu). “If we don’t have good ratings because we don’t have any brats, I’m fine with that,” Tweed says.
“There’s probably not going to be a sex tape in our future. At least not hers. I might have one laying around from the ‘80s, I’m not sure.”