It seems it was just yesterday that nothing was coming between Brooke Shields and her Calvins. Now the model-actress is playing a grandma on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The details on Shields’ surprising recurring role on TV’s longest-running drama series was kept top secret until the final moments of the most recent episode of the NBC police procedural, and it was worth the wait.
Brooke Shields made her first appearance in a multi-episode arc as Sheila Porter, the biological grandmother of Olivia Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) adopted son, Noah, on the Law Order: SVU episode “No Good Reason.” While Noah’s biological mother Ellie is deceased, Brooke Shields’s character showed up and filed papers to vacate Benson’s adoption.
Brooke Shields was not Law & Order: SVU showrunner Michael Chernuchin’s first choice to play the scheming Sheila.
“I was not thinking of Brooke Shields,” the Law & Order: SVU producer admitted to the Hollywood Reporter. “I was thinking of an older woman and right when I pitched it to Mariska – I give her so much credit – she said, ‘Brooke’s going to play the part.'”
Law & Order fans were shocked when Benson opened the door to her apartment only to be greeted by Brooke Shields as little Noah’s bio grandmother.
Brooke Shields and Mariska Hargitay are old friends, but Shields admits even she was thrown off when her pal pitched her the role.
“I’ve never played a grandmother before and I have to say, I practically punched Mariska in the face when she said, ‘Oh, and by the way, you’re playing a grandmother,’ Brooke told THR.
“It’s a subject matter that I, on the one hand, have zero reference to, and on the other hand, I’m very intimately to the story as a female and as a mom. It’s just someone who has to fight and at a certain point in your life, there’s nothing you wouldn’t stop at for certain things. I had not played that before.”
When it was first announced that Brooke Shields was going to appear on Law & Order: SVU, fans tried to guess who her character would be, but no one thought she would be playing a grandmother, let alone an adversary to Benson.
“On the Internet, when we announced that she was going to be on the show, we wouldn’t say what part she was playing,” Chernuchin told TV Line. “Everybody was guessing different things. Nobody guessed this.”
Brooke Shields got her start in the entertainment field as a pre-teen model and actress in the 1970s. At age 12 she was cast in the controversial role as a child prostitute in Louis Malle’s 1978 film, Pretty Baby. Brooke later starred in the early ’80s big screen hits The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love, as well as an iconic series of commercial for Calvin Klein jeans, before turning to TV—and comedy—with the 1990s sitcom Suddenly Susan.
While Shields has just signed on to Law & Order: SVU for a multi-episode arc, the 52-year-old actress has not ruled out a return to the show after her initial episodes play out.
You can see Brooke Shields talking about her role on Law & Order: SVU in the video below.
Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
[Featured Image by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images]