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The Toronto Star
ENTERTAINMENT Thursday, May 15, 1986

Steen Seen: Things are going well for Toronto actress Jessica Steen. Her phone started ringing after she played Lindsay Wagner's daughter in the ABC Disney movie Young Again that aired Sunday night.

Monday morning, her agent, Sandie Newton of Toronto, received four calls from the coast, each one a Los Angeles casting director.

One was asking about her availability for John (Pretty In Pink) Hughes' current production, which starts shooting in July in L.A. She has been offered a lead role in the still untitled "secret project".

Until then, Steen will be busy in Newfoundland shooting John And The Missus, a period piece written and directed by Gordon Pinsent. The movie, which also stars Jackie Burroughs, should be finished shooting by mid-June.

The Toronto Star
ENTERTAINMENT Wednesday, November 19, 1986

'Luke Skywalker' on Wellesley

Star Wars star Mark Hamill and Toronto actress Jessica Steen take a break on location at Jarvis Collegiate, where they're filming an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode for airing on TV in February.


Star photo (Bernard Weil) Mark Hamill and Jessica Steen

The Toronto Star
ENTERTAINMENT Thursday, June 11, 1987

Taut drama takes honest look at teen homosexuality By Jim Bawden Toronto Star

What is The Truth About Alex? He's an honors high school student, a crack football player, a competitive music student who may have a future playing professionally. His best friend, Brad, thinks Alex is the shy type who refuses blind dates and prefers the solitude of piano practice.

The "truth" only comes out when Alex is propositioned in a garage washroom by a bully who beats him up and claims it was Alex who made the advances. Alex's equilibrium is destroyed in a flash when he refuses to press charges, fearing everyone will find out he is a homosexual.

The insightful, touching drama is on Global TV's Channel 22 tomorrow at 9 p.m. Peter Spence plays Alex. Scott Baio is the troubled best friend and Jessica Steen, his girlfriend who does not want to be drawn into the controversy. The three young actors are terrific and completely believable.

The Truth About Alex is really about male friendship and how far teenagers can go to protect each other. The story is unsparing in its honesty and does not treat Alex's homosexuality as a disease but as a fact of life. Alex has already come to terms with himself although he's afraid to tell his father and friends. Inside, he's always been the same person. His close friends must make the adjustments, not him.

The hour drama was filmed in Toronto by Insight Productions, although no city is mentioned. It begins at a particularly brutal football practice as the high school team prepares for the final game. After four years as league-leading champions, the guys are determined to go out as winners. Some of the key players anticipate college football scholarships.

Then comes the washroom incident. Alex has been jogging, stops to get a drink of water and is humiliated. At first, Brad is more concerned with what his peers will think rather than how Alex has been hurt. Then Brad realizes what is most important that he must support his best friend during an emotional crisis.

The coach feels Alex should have kept the truth to himself because team morale is faltering. One of the rednecks has shouted, "I don't want him in the showers."

"You drop him, you drop me!" Brad shouts back when he learns the coach is giving in to the pressure.

With only an hour to set the premise and resolve Brad's dilemma, writer Craig Storper had to keep his story lean and uncluttered. The film would have played better at twice its running time because certain details have been telescoped. Brad's father, a military man, pops up to put pressure on his son to drop Alex as a friend. There's a certain regrettable gap in the script because he's a fascinating character who has tried to mold Brad in his image and failed.

Toronto's Paul Shapiro directed the taut drama, which does not have a neat resolution. Brad has dropped his girlfriend and become estranged from his father. Alex must still combat the town's prejudice. Going all out to win the final game has not solved any of the basic problems, but merely delayed the emotional fallout. The Truth About Alex succeeds handsomely because its story is unsparingly honest.

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Last update: November 1, 2000 3:46 AM