Ask AfterEllen.com (Jan. 13, 2009)

Question: Since Mariska Hargitay let known her desire to have another child, do you think Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is on its last leg? If so, can you please let us know if Stephanie March (ADA Cabot) will ever make another appearance? I for one hope Cabot shows up on the arm of Olivia.

Emily

Stephanie March

Answer: Is the show, now in its tenth season, on its last leg? That probably depends on who you ask.

One of our own bloggers, Ace, published a lengthy list of complaints about the show going down hill in recent years, and the ratings have steadily declined since 2003 (though they have slightly improved in the current season). At a recent Television Critics Association (TCA) press conference, Richard Belzer, one of SVU’s stars, complained that NBC’s decision to give SVU‘s 10 pm time slot to Jay Leno’s new comedy show was "the last gasp of a dying network."

But star Mariska Hargitay has been nominated for an Emmy award for her work on the show every year since 2004 (she won in 2006), and she is currently the highest paid actress on television. So while Hargitay has hinted that she might take another maternity leave, it’s a safe bet to think that she has a lot of reasons to stay with the show as long as possible.

On the bright side, one of your wishes will come true: Stephanie March will be returning to the show for six episodes on February 17, though there’s no word yet on who’s arm she might appear. Is Liz Lemon’s an option?

Question: Is there any news on the follow up to [the 1986 film] Desert Hearts? I know it was mentioned by Donna Deitch in an interview ages ago.

Nikki

Desert Hearts Director Donna Deitch

Answer: In a June 2007 interview with AfterEllen.com, Deitch was asked about the sequel and told us, "I’m a little reluctant to talk about the story and the setting, because when you’re in the middle of writing something like that, it’s kind of hard to talk about it ’cause you’re not quite certain, you know."

She elaborated a bit:

It’s going to be some time later, and it’s going to not only be about these characters, it’s going to expand into new characters as well. I envision actually more than one Desert Hearts sequel, ’cause I’m thinking about making several of them. Since this one was in the late ’50s, I have some room to move around here, right? And I think it’s time for me to get off my day job and get on with doing this, because I can see several sequels, and then I can see sort of a sci-fi [one].

A sci-fi sequel to Desert Hearts? That’s…different. But if she can get any of the women from Battlestar Galactica to sign on for the sequel, I doubt that there’s a lesbian anywhere who would object.

In a July 2008 interview with The Huffington Post, Deitch provided a little more information.

It’s unconventional as a sequel. It is not the follow-up to the two characters and their next steps. Its about the world of Desert Hearts and it’s going to take on many more characters. It will be set in NYC in the late 60s. The two characters will be in it. The screenplay will hopefully be done by the end of the summer.

Whether the screenplay was indeed completed in the timeframe she’d hoped for, or if Desert Hearts II will be set in outer space, we don’t yet know, but Deitch has been busy.

In the last couple of years, she’s directed episodes of Bones, Eureka, Crossing Jordan, and Heroes. And in the Huffington Post interview, she said she planned to direct her partner Terri Jentz‘s true-crime memoir Strange Piece of Paradise when it finally comes to the big screen.

NEXT PAGE: That rumor about an American version of Tipping the Velvet, and other Sarah Waters news

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