'Gossip Girl' spin off: Exec producer Stephanie Savage tells us what to expect
Lily van der Woodsen. During tonight's "Gossip Girl" hour, we're flashing back more than 25 years to her teenage days, and if all goes well, those flashbacks will morph into a whole new spin off series this September. Sounds exciting to me, so I decided to bother executive producer Stephanie Savage with a bunch of questions about it...
80s. Love it. Already on board. But exactly what year will things begin, will we know?
SS: We're going to try and be somewhat vague about that, just so we don't get trapped in nitpicking, but we're starting somewhere around 1983. The idea is that it's Lily in high school, so we wanted to give it a nice long run before it turns into the 90s when she'd be meeting Rufus.
The "Gossip Girl" episode during which Lily made a list of all the men she'd slept with... should we have been pausing our DVRs and looking closely at that list? Any of those guys going to pop up should the show go to series in the fall?
SS: Well the names on that list were mostly our crew members' names, and that's largely just for legal reasons. A lot of the guys that would have been on Lily's list, that are on the list in her mind, are guys that are older and have families now and they don't necessarily want to be associated with Lily's past. But we'll still be telling those stories, definitely.
How would you describe the tone of the show? Comparable to "Fast Times"? "Valley Girl"? "Less Than Zero"?
SS: It's kind of, I think, a combination of all of those. We definitely didn't want it to be joke-y and campy and we worked really hard, and I think succeeded -- knock on wood -- in terms of the fashion and the music and the production design, to make something that felt fun, definitely, but also grounded in a reality where we could tell dramatic stories. So you're not, like, having an emotional scene where you're [distracted by] their makeup or their ponytail or their shoulder pads. We wanted to keep the show aspirational, in terms of the clothes and the music. Young women who watch "Gossip Girl" to get ideas about fashion will also want to watch this to get ideas about fashion. They'll be slightly different ideas, but it still feels aspirational and like something that you'd want to be a part of, rather than make fun of. And we hope we can turn people on to music that they don't know, or movies or TV shows that they may have heard of, but never really watched.
Not going to lie, I'm psyched for the fashion.
SS: When we were shooting it, we were looking around at each other going, Oh my God, my hair is so flat, I have no volume, my clothes are really boring, I have to work on my accessories.
And what about the music, will it be more mainstream 80s or edgy...?
SS: Well both, we definitely have different worlds represented in our show. The Los Angeles punk scene is represented. And then there are the more obvious KROQ radio hits. Jumping between these two worlds is important to the show. Lily is living with her sister in the Valley and kind of hanging out in the punk rock scene, but she and her sister come from a wealthy family and their parents are more aligned with a Pacific Palisades/Beverly Hills/Malibu, "Less Than Zero" world. So her struggle, kind of as it is in "Gossip Girl," is to try and figure out what kind of world she wants to be in.
Will the music include songs that were actually recorded and released in the 80s or will you be using new bands that have kind of an 80s sound and feel to them?
SS: The music that the characters are listening to will be true to the period. But we definitely want to use newer music that has an 80s feel to it as well. And we also want to have new bands who can kind of do cameos as a period band.
Anyone you have your eye on?
SS: Well, in our first pilot episode that is going to air as part of "Gossip Girl" [tonight], we have "No Doubt." They are playing "Snowed Out," their fictional 80s counterparts!
Love it. Last thing, I have to know, if the show gets picked up, are you really going to cast actors to play the 80s versions of "O.C." characters Jimmy Cooper and Kirsten Nichol?
SS: I don't think it would be a huge part of the show, but it's always been in the back of our minds that Lily's character comes from California and, coming from Montecito, she may have crossed paths with our Newport Beach characters. They grew up around the same time. And it's something we're able to do because Warner Brothers and [executive producer] Josh [Schwartz] control those characters, so we can bring them to life if we chose to do that. It could be a lot of fun...
Thoughts? Will you be watching tonight?