I first interviewed Michael Steger in spring 2008, shortly after The CW announced they ordered their 90210 pilot as a full series. He and the rest of the cast didn’t know much about their characters yet but he did know this: he’d sort of be Andrea Zuckerman version 2.0, via his association with the West Beverly Blaze.
I was sold. After all, Andrea had been the Beverly Hills 90210 character I identified with most (at least until she got pregnant and married–in that order–while a freshman in college…can’t say that happened to me!). A season-and-a-half later, I’m more than pleased to see Steger’s character Navid Shirazi still has the journalism connection.
While chatting on the phone earlier this week, Steger shared with me his favorite real-life journalists, filled me in on Navid’s storyline for the next few episodes (is there a possible battle of the red-heads brewin’?) and expressed where he’d like to see 90210 to go in season 3.
TeenDramaWhore: I’ve been reading up and watching the other interviews you’ve done lately. There’s a clip showing Navid by the lockers in school, wanting to plant some drugs on Jasper [Zachary Ray Sherman].
Michael Steger: I end up finding a way to get cocaine and I have a plan to use it to get Jasper kicked out of school. I’m trying to recruit Dixon [Tristan Wilds] and Liam [Matt Lanter] to help.
TDW: What is his motivation? Is it strictly because he wants his own revenge or is it out of concern for Annie [Shenae Grimes]? Or both?
Steger: I think it’s a little bit of both. I know Jasper pushed me down the stairs and no one else believes me. I also caught him selling drugs to Adrianna [Jessica Lowndes] and he’s also hurting Annie. So there’s a lot of reason for Navid to have pure hate for this guy. There’s a lot motivating Navid.
TDW: Is Navid any way connected to the Adrianna-Gia [Rumer Willis] romance?
Steger: I think Navid is questing his manhood. His self-esteem is really hurt. He’s asking himself a lot of questions, like “Does she not like men because she was with me? What’s going on?” He’s kind of perturbed a little bit that they’re together. He’s not used to it.
TDW: I’ve also heard that Navid gets a girl of his own.
Steger: Yes. Coincidentally, we’re both dating red-heads. I end up dating my star reporter, Lila [Amber Wallace (Glenda, One Tree Hill)], who’s almost as ambitious as I am. She works for the Blaze. I went through so much with Adrianna and Jasper and it’s made me completely devoted to journalism.
TDW: Speaking of journalism, I really like the journalistic side of Navid, for obvious reasons. I was wondering if you have a favorite journalist or someone in the media world you really admire.
Steger: Yeah, absolutely. Love Charlie Rose. Every time I catch him late at night, I really enjoy watching him. The questions he asks–I think he’s so smart. Diane Sawyer, love her. I really enjoy Bill Maher. I don’t know that he’s necessarily a hard-hitting journalist. More like a personality.
TDW: Going back to the show, I heard that the season finale is called Confessions. So I’m wondering how Navid figures into that. What might Navid be confessing?
Steger: Ohhh, you’ve got the good questions! He does have a confession. I can’t say what. It’s such a good episode. I think the fans are really, really going to like this one. A lot goes down and you see everybody’s true colors come out. He’s going to take everybody by surprise.
TDW: Is there anything in particular you’d like to do in season 3? Any storylines you want to tackle?
Steger: I’d like for the Blaze to showcase more hard-hitting issues, bringing hot topics to the forefront and educating our audience. I feel like there’s so much out there kids should be aware of. For instance, what’s going on in Haiti and different things around the world. I think those topics should be intertwined in storylines to get people aware. We’re part of pop culture and as much influence as we can impress upon kids, the better. So I would say promote more positive messages, because I know we’re busy always pushing the envelope and all the drama but it’s always good to throw some good examples in there.
TDW: I think that’s a really good idea. Something else I’ve heard from readers is that they want to know more about Navid’s family. We’ve seen your parents briefly here and there but will we see them again, maybe in a larger capacity?
Steger: Yeah, I think so. The writers, we’ve been talking about diving more into Navid’s relationship with his dad and the porn industry and how dysfunctional it is and how Navid feels about it. It’s almost like Navid is trying to escape that and wants to find success in something he finds classy and artistic. I think there’s a lot of room for stories with his family. He has to deal with this materialistic life as best as he can but it’s overwhelming. He drives a Lamborghini; he lives in a mansion. It’s a lot to deal with. It’s a lot of pressure for him.
TDW: You’ve already finished filming for the season, so what’s next for you?
Steger: I went to New York right away to see a bunch of theater. Now I’m getting back to my actor roots, looking for jobs and projects to get involved with. I’m having a great time. I’m really excited for this break.
Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!