John Kapelos is an actor you may know from his work with John Hughes on such iconic ‘80s films as Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, or if you’re a vampire aficionado, you might have watched him in the ‘90s on Forever Knight. But the man has basically been a workaholic since the early ‘80s, as you can tell from the 60+ films and 100+ TV programs he’s popped up on over the years, including – just to cite a few more recent credits – Justified, Modern Family, Transparent, Togetherness, and to keep the folks at home happy, Republic of Doyle.
Below you’ll find details about the dozen projects I asked Kapelos about during the course of our conversation, with the synopses in quotation marks taken from IMDb and the rest written by yours truly from whatever facts I could find.
1. The Naked Face (1984) – “A Chicago psychiatrist Judd Stevens (Roger Moore) is suspected of murdering one of his patients when the man turns up stabbed to death in the middle of the city. After repeated attempts to convince cops Rod Steiger and Elliott Gould of his innocence, Dr.Stevens is forced to go after the real villains himself, and he finds himself up against one of the city’s most notorious Mafia kingpins.” A cast like that from Cannon Films in 1984? Why isn’t this already one of my favorite movies?
2. Charmed Lives (1986) – “The lives of Joyce (Fran Drescher) and Lauren (Donna Dixon), an aspiring actress and photographer who share an apartment in San Francisco.” Whether by coincidence or design, this pilot – which obviously did not make it to series – is the second time that Kapelos, Drescher, and Dixon found themselves in the same project together. The first? Doctor Detroit.
3. All’s Fair (1989) – “To relax, a group of stressed-out executives go to the country for a weekend to play war games.” That’s literally all it says about the film on IMDb. Fortunately, anything else you need to know about the film is answered by its poster.
4. A Twist of the Knife (1993) – “Dr. Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) suspects that his flame of long ago, famous heart surgeon Dr. Rachel Walters (Suzanne Pleshette), has murdered US Senator Cabot on the occasion of a guest operation at the community hospital. After a long investigation, Sloan and fellow detectives Dr Bentley and Dr Parker discover her motive: Years ago, Cabot had caused a hit-and-run accident that put her daughter into coma. But how did Dr Walters manage to pass the deadly bacteria on to the senator in front of TV cameras?” And more importantly, why did I copy and paste all of this information when I could’ve just said, “Yeah, it’s the pilot for Diagnosis: Murder“?
5. Deep Red (1994) – “After a young girl is accidently infected with an alien substance known as ‘Deep Red,’ the astonishing results attract the attention of the illustrious scientist Dr. Newmeyer (John de Lancie). Disillusioned security expert Joe Keyes (Michael Biehn) must team up with his estranged wife to protect the girl and her mother from the obsessed scientist who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.”
6. Rebel Highway: Cool and the Crazy (1994) – “Unhappily married couple Roslyn (Alicia Silverstone) and Michael (Jared Leto) lead separate affairs that lead to violent repercussions for all.” Yes, yes, that’s all fine and well, but…it was directed by Ralph Bakshi!
7. The Sports Pages (2001) – “In two short films we get to know how sports can influence on the lives if human beings. The film is also scattered with small interruption sports interviews underlining the events acted out in the film.” The matinee names, i.e. the ones who make the cover of the DVD (Bob Newhart and Kelsey Grammer), are actually in the first film, but Kapelos still gets Eugene Levy in his portion of the production.
8. Just Cause (2002) – “Alexandra DeMonaco (Elizabeth Lackey) was a good citizen and a devoted mom… until the day she was arrested. How could she know her no-good husband was running a medical insurance scam? Even so, he walked away with $5 million and their daughter… and Alexandra went to prison for five years. But she didn’t waste a minute on self-pity and despair. Instead, Alexandra studied law and earned her degree. Now, she’s out on parole, back in San Francisco, fighting to clear her name and – most of all – searching for her missing daughter, Mia. And when Alexandra lands a job at a law firm, it isn’t long before things get interesting. As a paralegal for dashing mover-and-shaker Attorney Hamilton Whitney (Richard Thomas), Alexandra proves she has a remarkable gift for getting at the truth and bringing the bad guys to justice.” Brought to you by your friends at PAX TV.
9. L.A.X. (2002) – It stars Dane Cook. Honest to God, that’s about the extent of what I know about the damned thing. It’s just that obscure.
10. Fast Food High (2003) – “The story of Emma Redding, a young fast food restaurant employee who musters her inner Erin Brockovich and tries to start a union. When new management takes over the local fast food restaurant, favoritism, unstable hours and sexual harassment come with it. Eager to do something about it, Emma risks losing her job, her boyfriend, and her status with the ‘in’ crowd as she squares off against big business in the greatest challenge of her young life.”
11. 111 Gramercy Park (2003) – “Unsold series pilot about wealthy New Yorkers who live in an upscale apartment building, and the various maids, nannies and maintenance people who work for them.”
12. Gemini Division (2008) – “Gemini Division features NYPD undercover Detective Anna Diaz as a street wise and tough-as-nails New York cop forced to live dual lives. Diaz’s deep undercover persona drives her to keep people at a distance as a blown cover would mean death. Enter Nick Korda: After secreting herself away for so long, Diaz sees Korda as almost too good to be true. Anna finds a security in Nick she didn’t believe possible, allowing her to lower her defenses and be herself. Though she has questions about Nick’s life, after only a few months the couple travels to romantic Paris and get engaged. But, before her questions and his proposal are answered, Nick is murdered. Diaz vows to bring his murderers to justice and in doing so discovers the truth about Korda and a vast global conspiracy. Black bag genetic experiments, covert military operations, a mysterious organization called Gemini Division, and simulated humanoid life forms. Detective Anna Diaz will have to draw upon all her experience to find the truth and survive.” I’m exhausted from reading all of that, which could be why this series – which only appeared on NBC.com and as a series of segments lasting between five and seven minutes in length – didn’t go viral. Like, at all.