Keck's Exclusives: Back to China Beach
by William Keck
Marg Helgenberger, Dana Delany, Nan Woods, Chloe Webb
Will Dana Delany soon be headed to Vietnam? It could happen. At a Paley Center for Media panel I recently moderated celebrating the 25th anniversary of ABC’s 1988-91 drama China Beach and its October release on DVD, co-creator John Sacret Young revealed that he hopes to publish a novel next year that furthers the story of Delany’s nurse, Colleen McMurphy.
“What would happen if Colleen [now in her sixties] were to look up some of the characters?” asks Young, who hopes to eventually adapt the novel — whose working title is Reflections, based on the show’s Motown theme song — as a TV movie. “After the sudden death of her husband, she returns to Vietnam and is surprised to find one character now living there.” A recovering alcoholic, Colleen will also go on a bender.
“I would love to play Colleen again,” Delany says. “The character is definitely still in me.”
The 10 other cast members on the panel — Troy Evans, Concetta Tomei, Nancy Giles, Robert Picardo, Marg Helgenberger, Chloe Webb, Brian Wimmer, Michael Boatman, Ricki Lake and Jeff Kober — were particularly interested to hear which of their characters appear in the book. Young says Colleen reconnects with Picardo’s Dr. Dick Richard and Helgenberger’s former prostitute, K.C. Koloski. “Dr. Dick is now retired and having some health issues but still heads out with Colleen to play a round of golf,” says Young. “And K.C. is a successful venture capitalist battling her own ghosts.”