Liveblogging The CW's Press Tour panel for the new Ashton Kutcher
-produced series, "The Beautiful Life"...
You know, the one Mischa Barton's going to be in?
10:10: Shoot, I was talking to "Vampire Diaries" producer Julie Plec in the lobby (love her), I'm late. First question is being posed: "Ashton, Is the character based on you?" He says, yes, the character of Raina (Sara Paxton) is based on him. He gets laughs. Oh wait, turns out he's serious. But the characters were more based on the experience of the creator, Adam Giaudrone. Giaudrone ends up telling us that he and Ashton were actually models in Milan at the same time. Crazy. He's bald now though. Ashton isn't.
10:12: Ashton is telling us about how naive he was, not even knowing male models were a real thing when he was first approached to model back in Iowa. He thought the Marlboro Man was an actual cowboy.
10:13: Is it easy to transition from modeling to acting? Ashton basically says, not really... at length.
10:14: They're showing clips of Mischa from the pilot, so yeah, she's still on the show despite her recent hospital stay.
10:15: There will be no casting changes, Ashton tells us. He didn't just volunteer the info. He was asked. He answers simply.
10:18: The issue of "who is skinny enough to be a star?" is brought up, because the clip reel they showed while I was talking to Julie Plec apparently focused on this storyline. Do the producers feel they have a responsibility to address eating disorders and issues of that nature on the show? Ashton tries to dodge the question. Adam jumps in saying "TBL" will address all sorts of issues, the idea that different models have very different experiences in this industry and those different experiences will be explored, very interesting.
10:20: Corbin Bleu speaks! His character has height issues. He says they are very apparent, especially when he's sitting next to the young Amazon woman to his left (Elle MacPherson). "Did you just call Elle an Amazon?!," Ashton exclaims. Corbin recovers with "Legs for days! Legs for days."
10:22: Oh yes, twelve minutes in, the Mischa question. Mischa's in New York, working today, Ashton tells us. He says the great thing about having her is that she's done this before... He's referring to "The O.C." of course... Yes, but did her "illness" inconvenience "TBL"? You know, 'cause she wasn't available to start shooting when they were supposed to? Ashton says she was never unavailable.
10:22: Does Corbin think his Disney fans will follow him to "The Beautiful Life"? He tells us he started working when he was 2-years-old. He realizes that fans are people too -- a shocking revelation, I'm sure -- and that they have their own needs, will lean towards certain content. He's just doing the role and he's excited about it. He's telling us about the character (Isaac) who is torn between music and modeling. He's more of a musician. He's conflicted. Says he's going to have some sort of romance coming up. Wait, did he say he's hooking up with an older woman in a future storyline? I think he did.
10:24: Elle speaks! She's been focusing on the business world as of late, she lives in The U.K. This is a great job for her, basically because it's allowing her to portray an industry she really knows. They're working hard to give audiences an accurate portrayal. That's important to her.
10:26: Ashton announces that Elle will be answering all further questions from here on out.
10:27: Have any of the male models on the panel -- guess that'd be Ashton and Adam -- ever been hit on by lecherous women like Elle's character? Adam says yep! It's a struggle over there in Milan and Paris, it's a grind. He was hit on by men, women, gay, straight. Wait, is he saying he took the lecherous ones up on their offers in order to get ahead? I'm confused. People are talking faster than I can type.
10:28: Do the kids on the panel relate to their characters? Paxton says yes, because they're both "the new girl," "the fresh face on the scene." She's been acting since she was six, but she had to up and move to New York for the show and she's a California girl who's now gettting to know a whole new world... Corbin relates to Isaac 'cause he does music too. Plus Isaac was a very successful child model who is now trying to transition, and with the whole "High School Musical" thing, Corbin's kind of in the same boat. Says we have no idea how excited he is to play around with this character. Oh, he's cute. Seems super sincere.
10:30: Ashton's telling us about how he became a model. It all started in a bar in Iowa when he was 19 and ordering a beer. A scout approached him. The opportunity came at the right time 'cause he was really pissed at his roommate who was having sex with his girlfriend (his, not Ashton's) a lot and Ashton just wasn't happy doing the whole school thing. Anyway, it was his vehicle to get out of dodge. He didn't want to be in Iowa anymore... He explains how his experience is similar to Raina's: First week he was in New York, he was booked in a show where he got noticed by Mario Testino because of his angry catwalk face. That catapulted him into an Abercrombie & Fitch campaign and, yeah, basically, he became the "It" boy quickly.
10:32: Ashton gets the Twitter question. Will he ever quit TV and just start producing stuff for his Twitter feed? He pretty much says digital media and television will eventually just converge. Um, I think they sort of already have, no?
10:34: Ashton gets a question from a critic who says she's trying to Twitter right now. "How's that going?," he asks. "Not very well," she says. "Want me to do it for you?," he says. Laughs.
10:36: So, what's up with this "The Beautiful Life: TBL" business? We still doin' the whole "TBL" thing? Turns out we are.
Am I right?
Let's do an impromptu poll. Vote below...