Black Scorpion Michelle Lintel – Client

Black ScorpionCatch the Bug

Black Scorpion

Sci-Fi Channel, Fridays, 9 to 10 p.m. ET

Series premiere: Friday, Jan. 5 2001

By Len P. Feldman

black-scorpionNo, that’s not Batman in drag. It’s former Miss Kansas Michelle Lintel playing a sexy superhero in the campy new Sci-Fi Channel series Black Scorpion.

Lintel plays policewoman Darcy Walker, whose cop father (David Groh of the ’70s TV series Rhoda) was killed by the evil Breathtaker (Adam West, TV’s original Batman in the ’60s, in a hilarious recurring role). She’s assumed the alter ego of Black Scorpion in order to “do with a mask what she can’t do with a badge” (as the show’s intro puts it) — that is, kick bad-guy butt with impunity. Only Darcy’s partner (Scott Valentine, Family Ties) remotely suspects that she’s really Black Scorpion.

The show’s villains all have hokey comic-book names and are played mostly by ’60s and ’70s TV stars. Frank Gorshin (the Riddler from TV’s Batman) plays Clockwise, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) is Slave Master, and so on. But the best of the bunch is West as Breathtaker.

How did Lintel feel about facing off against Batman himself?

“It’s something I still can’t believe sometimes. I’m kicking Batman’s ass. This is too weird. You pinch yourself. I have such a huge respect for the guy. He’s an icon.”

The series, executive-produced by low-budget filmmaking legend Roger Corman, is a spin-off of two made-for-cable movies produced by Corman’s company, Concorde/New Horizons — Black Scorpion (1995) and Black Scorpion II: Aftershock (1996).

Corman considered asking Joan Severance, who played Black Scorpion in the films, to reprise her dual role for the TV series. “But I knew she commanded too much money now to be a regular on the show at the budget I was going with.”

 

michelle lintel

Enter Lintel, a 5-foot-7 beauty and two-time Junior Olympics hurdling champion with a green belt in Tae Kwon Do and an orange belt in Krav Maga, a martial art used by the Israeli military. She also holds a B.A. in psychology.

Finding Lintel wasn’t easy, according to Corman: “I wanted a tall, good-looking girl with a good figure who was an adequate actress.

It seemed to me that, in Hollywood, that was a pretty simple request.”

Not that simple as it turned out, though. “I have never seen so many beautiful girls who were such bad actresses.” Not to mention the fact that none them were over 5 feet tall. “We must have auditioned close to 100 young women before we found Michelle.”

Lintel laughs at Corman’s hype. “I’ve heard 400 girls, I’ve heard 600 girls. It’s like the fish keeps getting bigger. But I’m completely flattered.”

The show, which is being touted as Batman meets Baywatch, features 19 scantily clad Playboy Playmates as the villains’ molls and, in a few instances, as villains themselves.

While there’s no specific skin quota for each episode, Corman requested that “a fair amount of cleavage and a fair amount of legs” be shown. In fact, Lintel’s leather and rubber Black Scorpion suit fits so snugly, pieces of it had to be glued onto her body.

“They had to glue that mask as well as the leg pieces,” she explains.

But because she does 85 percent of her own fighting stunts on the show, Lintel feels that her character is strong enough to evade bimbo stereotyping. “When I put on the suit I don’t wonder, ‘Am I sticking out enough?’ I’m thinking, ‘OK, whose ass am I going to kick today?’ “

 

The Scorpion Mobile

Actress Michelle Lintel, as, Darcy Walker, a.k.a Black Scorpion, poses for a portrait at the unveiling of the “Scorpion Mobile,” the high-tech auto featured in the upcoming Sci-Fi Network superhero series “Black Scorpion” at the Petersen Automotive Museum October 5, 2000 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Steve Grayson/Newsmakers)

In addition to beating up on stuntmen, Lintel also enjoyed driving the Scorpionmobile, a black Corvette Stingray converted into a rolling arsenal. “Oh, did I drive that car. It’s fun and it’s a lot faster than you think.”

All fun aside, time is money on a Roger Corman production. The producer, who shot Little Shop of Horrors (1960) in two days and one night, has a reputation for making quality movies fast and cheap.

Each of the 22 episodes of Black Scorpion was shot in six days on a budget of $400,000, which is incredibly low for an hour long primetime TV show. But in Corman’s world, it’s a fortune. His recent low-budget feature-length film Destination Vegas cost only $500,000.

Corman says he’s ready to start production again on Black Scorpion if the Sci-Fi Channel asks for more episodes.

Currently, Lintel is relaxing in her Malibu home. But she doesn’t rule out the notion of donning Black Scorpion’s mask again. “I think it is very positive to always keep an open mind about everything.  And I think, because of my love for this character … I would definitely be encouraged to do something else with it.”

Photos courtesy of Sci-Fi Channel

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