News Roundup: Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, 90210 and The O.C.

31 08 2010
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Exclusive: Melinda Clarke Reflects on The O.C., Dishes on The Vampire Diaries and Nikita

9 05 2010

Last June I did a TDW series called “Teen Drama’s Villainous Characters,” looking at the villains of each series. Included in part three was The O.C.’s Julie Cooper. (Though, oddly enough, I forgot to include her in my Biggest Vixens series!) But a recent interview with Julie’s alter-ego, Melinda Clarke, reminded me that there was also something endearing about Julie. As Clarke told the Los Angeles Times last month, “Julie Cooper, though flawed and motivated by the wrong things, strived to be the best parent that she could be.” I thought today, Mother’s Day, would be an interesting day to reflect on that.

In my own exclusive interview with Clarke, we discussed Julie’s series-long transformation, where she thinks the character might be today and how Julie might be connected to Clarke’s character on The Vampire Diaries. Clarke also dished on her CW pilot Nikita.

TeenDramaWhore: Do you remember what your audition for The O.C. was like?

Melinda Clarke: Oh, yes. Actually, my first audition was for the role of Kirsten Cohen [who ended up being played by Kelly Rowan].

TDW: Wow, I don’t think I knew that!

Clarke: I was younger than the character. I was younger than both the characters, actually. But it was a regular role. In the pilot, Julie was only a guest star. I read for [Kirsten] but I was asked to come back for the other character. When I came in for the Julie role, I made sure that [executive producer] Josh Schwartz and the casting director knew that I grew up in Orange County. I was literally going to the audition and then driving to my mom’s house down in Orange County. And, of course, it was a completely different world. I did not grow up in the “O.C.” world. I grew up in kind of a liberal artsy family and on the beach, which is beautiful. But it definitely wasn’t the Julie Cooper world. And I just remember having so much fun with the Julie role. She was clearly just such a money-digging whore. To me, it’s so funny now to see The Real Housewives of Orange County because you realize it exists and that’s what Julie was. Julie was obviously the original housewife. Except they have a lot more plastic on their bodies than Julie did! Thank goodness. And I remember when I got the role, it went down to the last minute. The casting director, Patrick Rush–I had actually been in an episode of Everwood.

TDW: I know! That was one of my favorite shows.

Clarke: He was able to show a scene or two from that to the network, so they could offer me the role. I was up for the role but I got a role in Battlestar Galactica, the one that Tricia Helfer ended up doing. And of course she’s a perfect, beautiful, stunning swimsuit model who can act her butt off. She ended up doing that role but they wouldn’t let me out of the contract. When you audition for a show, you sign a contract. And they can decide between however many people they want. They weren’t letting me out of the contract to do The O.C. It was literally down to the last hour before they finally let me go so I could go do The O.C. And the rest is history. It turned into a great role.

TDW: It did. When did you realize that the show was a hit?

Clarke: There were a lot of different reasons why people gravitated to it. It was a good script. It was a great script.  We had Josh Schwartz writing great scripts. Great cast. We also had the advantage of being after American Idol on Wednesday nights. I think the first time we realized it was a really big hit was at a fan appearance down on one of the piers, I think down in Redondo Beach. We were each put into limos and driven up over the hill and down to the pier and there were thousands and thousands of kids and fans–and the show had only been on like a month or two. I think that’s when we all realized, “Woah! This is something that people are responding to. Very much so.” It was very soon.

TDW: When you look back on the show today, do you have a favorite storyline?

Clarke: The first thing that comes to mind is Julie living in the trailer park [in season 3]. Because it was just, would she do it or not? There’s one particular scene where Julie’s in cowboy boots, a cut-off jean skirt, a tank top, and a thong, chewing [tobacco] and watching Nascar …and Kirsten shows up [Episode 3.10, The Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah]. That was one of my favorite scenes of the whole show. And the first season, I remember reading a script where she has this little affair with Luke [Chris Carmack] and she picks up the phone and calls him very stealth-like [Episode 1.20, The Telenovela]. It’s that scene in particular where she says like, “Meet me at the hotel. Knock twice. I’ll be there. And Luke, this is a booty call.” When I read that, I was like “I officially love this show!” The lines [in the show] were just fantastic. It’s so about creating culture instead of reflecting it. We were creating pop culture.

TDW: You were. You guys definitely left a mark.

Clarke: And there was a scene, I think in the same episode, when Caleb [Alan Dale] shows up late at night with the flowers and I say, “Is this a booty call?” And he goes, “What’s a boo-tee…call?” “When you show up unannounced with the crappy carnations from Ralph’s with the idea that I might just want (blank).”

TDW: Yes! So funny.

Clarke: And the last season, Marissa [Mischa Barton] gave me a lot to do emotionally. It was definitely an incredible arc for me as an actress to start with this woman who was so superficial but, of course, she’s not just one-dimensional, she’s multi-dimensional. Starting in her pink Juicy sweat suit outfit and then by the end she’s graduated from college and moving on with her life. She’s a survivor. And I miss her.

TDW: Julie was obviously very affected by Marissa’s death. Did you have any reservations about how that would go over with the fans?

Clarke: Oh my goodness, everyone was shocked. From what I understand, the official story is that they just felt like they couldn’t do any more to this character or any more with the character. She had been through hell and back. She’d been through so much. What more could they write? Or at least that’s what I heard. I don’t really know if it ended up being the best idea. It definitely gave me a lot to do, which was fantastic. I think the last season was really interesting. I don’t know. I think the show could’ve gone longer than it did. It didn’t even finish a full fourth season. But I don’t know. You’d have to ask those involved. There’s a lot of different reasons why people think it ended. We were also moved from Wednesdays at 9 after American Idol to Thursday at 8 against Friends. And then we were moved to Thursday at 9 against CSI. It’s a little bit tough to keep up with those.

TDW: As you said, the show ended with Julie getting her degree [Episode 4.16, The End’s Not Near, It’s Here].

Clarke: Which I actually have as a prop!

TDW: Oh, wow, you got to take that home?

Clarke: Yes. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone what it actually says, what she got her degree in.

TDW: I would love to know!

Clarke: It wasn’t ever part of the script but the prop guys had fun with it. It says she got a degree in psychology but she also double majored in paranormal studies.

TDW: That’s really funny. So, if you had to guess, where do you think Julie is today?

Clarke: Well, let’s see. They did the “years in the future” thing, so I think, chronologically, she’d still be getting her degree.

TDW: True.

Clarke: But if you wanted to start from there, she’s probably…she’s probably still unmarried and dating when she wants but being a good mom to her son, who would have to be somewhere around 10 now or something like that. I think she probably opened her own business and has been very successful with it. I don’t know if she was able to do anything with her degree or not. Oh my goodness, maybe she’s a psychic now, like John Edwards!

TDW: You know, that would make her a great fit for The Vampire Diaries. You could just go right over.

Clarke: Kelly Donovan’s basically Julie Cooper now! But [unlike Julie], she’s drinking away.

TDW: On The Vampire Diaries, you worked with Paul Wesley [Donnie] and he appeared on one episode of The O.C. [Episode 1.05, The Outsider].

Clarke: Yes, it was very memorable.

TDW: Did you meet him back then?

Clarke: No, we actually met in Atlanta back in January. He’s good friends with Ben McKenzie [Ryan]. We said hello and I definitely remembered him, even though we never actually met. So we got to meet in Atlanta in 20 degree weather at night.

TDW: Ooh, that sounds fun.

Clarke: Yes. It is absolutely fun. It was an extreme winter in Atlanta this year.

TDW: Now you’re back in California, I hope.

Clarke: Yes. I was in Atlanta for two weeks, came home for a while, went back for another week, came back for a while, and then went back for two more weeks and them came back for a while and then went to Toronto for three weeks. So this California girl has definitely learned I can survive in cold weather but it’s not my favorite!

TDW: Were you already familiar with Kevin Williamson’s work on Dawson’s Creek and the Scream movies?

Clarke: Yes. I was fan of Dawson’s Creek. I was always very impressed with the characters on that show, their development and how smart he made the characters. Their conversations, their situations. They definitely had a very talented cast and a lot of them have moved on to do really amazing work.

TDW: I always saw The O.C. as the next step in the genre after Dawson’s Creek.

Clarke: There were things that Dawson’s Creek did that were a little more cerebral and The O.C. was a little bit more humorous. Very intelligent humor.

TDW: Right. I think the Dawson’s Creek had a philosophical intelligence whereas The O.C. had wit.

Clarke: Wit. Exactly.

TDW: With The Vampire Diaries, I have to ask: are you Team Damon or Team Stefan? Or, you can be Team Kelly, too!

Clarke: It was fun to work with Ian [Somerhalder] because there’s a looseness to him, to his character. He definitely brings a lot to the character. It’s not just lines on the page. And I think Kelly is similar to that. We don’t really know why Kelly is such a bad mother, why she does what she does, like drinking, and where she’s been. They definitely didn’t explain that so that leaves a lot to be explored in the future if she comes back.

TDW: That’s what the hope is. That we’ll see you again next season and delve into that.

Clarke: I’m not dead yet! I don’t think they have any intention of killing her. But it was definitely a little bit of a taste or a tease to have this character around to make her son’s life miserable but then ultimately leave town as a sacrifice, realizing she doesn’t make her son’s life any better.

TDW: You were cast in the pilot Nikita, which is also on The CW. So if Nikita is picked up, would you be able to do both shows?

Clarke: Technically, yes. Legally, yes. They’re both on the same network. It would probably be more of a scheduling situation. It would be up to the powers that be, the producers on Nikita, the producers on The Vampire Diaries. They’re such different characters and they don’t conflict as far as characters go but you would have to be within certain parameters. It’s more of a scheduling thing.

TDW: For those that aren’t familiar with the original La Femme Nikita show or even for those that are, what will this show be about?

Clarke: Well, Nikita was a runaway girl with no life, who was forced into becoming an assassin. There’s been different versions: a French film, American film, Canadian television show. This version is an updated version. Nikita is now not within the Division. She got out. She’s now played by Maggie Q. Brilliant casting. People may remember her from Mission Impossible 3. So she’s now out of the Division and she’s trying to make things very difficult for the Division. And we’ll also be focusing on the new young recruits who are trained to be assassins for the Division. But they’re essentially held against their will. They have to become an assassin or die. There’s a new young nikita and her character is played by Lyndsy Fonseca. People will remember her from Desperate Housewives but she’s now in Hot Tub Time Machine, which is a very cute movie. I think she’s in Kick-Ass, too. So she’s a hot actress right now. She’s our second lead. And my character is Amanda, one of the operatives and mentors within Division. She’s definitely not going down to the bar drinking shots. She’s a very strong and calculating and tough woman.

TDW: So are you doing action stunts?

Clarke: I would expect so. I would expect every single person on this show would have some action. It seems very alien [to the network] but there’s a lot of younger characters who will fulfill the CW demographic. I think the character of Alex, Lyndsy’s character, is supposed to be 19 years old. But there’s a lot of action, so I think young men will like it, too. Not just the young ladies.

TDW: Are you feeling confident about a series pick-up? Have you guys heard anything yet from The CW?

Clarke: Maybe I’m just jinxing everything by even talking about it. But, no, we don’t know. I have the highest of high hopes. Whenever you do a pilot and the network’s studios put money into the pilot, you’re going to hear positive feedback because they wouldn’t want to spend the money unless they’d like to get it on television. So hopefully this isn’t speaking before I should be talking about it but I think The CW is really behind it and I hope it does end up on the network, that they give us the chance.

TDW: I do, too. When you were cast in The Vampire Diaries, there were a lot of comments from people who were happy but who also want you back on their screen more permanently, not just guest roles.

Clarke: I like the ensemble situation [with permanent roles]. It’s nice to be able to have a life with my daughter and still work.

TDW: Right. And it means we’re seeing you regularly. We’re not waiting for the next guest role.

Clarke: I did one episode of Entourage last year but it was probably one of my favorite things I’ve done in a long time. It was a great scene with Jeremy Piven. I played myself. It was a brilliant thing. It was a fictitious version of Melinda Clarke. They had me come out of the Paramount lot and, of course, there’s these huge posters for my own television show. [The character] is a spy by night and a mom by day. I just thought that was very clever. I love that show. I would love to do a show like that more often. The industry is recovering from the single worst time in history. From the writer’s strike to the potential SAG strike. The lack of material. All of these things. The numbers of everything have gone down in every way, shape and form. It’s just a matter of finding the right thing and I’m really happy Warner Bros. and McG are producing Nikita and Danny Cannon from CSI is directing.

TDW: I forgot McG was doing it! He executive produced The O.C. as well. So it’s kind of like a little reunion.

Clarke: And, of course, he produces Chuck and Supernatural, [the latter of] which is on The CW, too. It all sounds like a wonderful recipe and I feel like Warner Bros. is behind it. Very much so. But you never know. You never know. Some great pilots never get on television. It’s a shame. But I think they feel good about this. And if it doesn’t go, you go after the next thing. Maybe I’ll go to Atlanta, Georgia more often.

TDW: Last question: There have been a few Twitter accounts claiming to be you and they’re not you. Can you just state for the record whether you’re on Twitter?

Clarke: I am not on Twitter in any way, shape or form.

TDW: Good, thank you.

Clarke: In fact, Kelly Rowan sent me a text not too long ago saying, “Did you know you and I are having conversations on Twitter?”

TDW: Yes! I saw that! There were two accounts that talked with each other, claiming to be you guys.

Clarke: We had a good laugh over that because neither one of us have the time for Twitter. Maybe we should. But I haven’t ever done anything like that.

Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!

TDW Interview Index





News Roundup: Gossip Girl, The O.C., 90210 and Dawson’s Creek

16 04 2010
  • So glad I’m back to contributing Gossip Girl recaps to the Talking Gossip After Dark podcast! Make sure you check it out!
  • This week’s Gossip Girl made TVGuide.com’s list of Top Moments of The Week for the Most Tearful “IDo” with Blair (Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl) telling Chuck (Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl) “this is the end” for them.
  • The Gossip Girl season 3 DVD hasn’t been officially announced yet and there isn’t a release date but you can check out the cover art and pre-order it from Amazon.
  • The Gossip Girl tour of New York City will allow moms to go free Mother’s Day weekend.
  • CNN has their Connector Of The Day video interview with Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl).
  • PEOPLE.com has a short article on Taylor Momsen (Jenny, Gossip Girl) filming the music video for The Pretty Reckless’ Make Me Wanna Die.
  • Beauty & The Briefcase, starring Hilary Duff (Olivia, Gossip Girl) and Chris Carmack (Luke, The O.C.), will air Sunday night on ABCFamily.
  • Tiffani Amber Thiessen (Valerie, Beverly Hills 90210) filmed a PSA for the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
  • Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210) will be on The Ellen DeGegeres Show Monday with hubby Dean McDermott. Duff was on today.
  • Shawn Christian (Wayne, Beverly Hills 90210) spoke a little bit about the show in an interview with We Love Soaps. Never knew he was asked to stick around in season 1o! He also discusses being on Summerland, which starred Lori Loughlin (Debbie, 90210), and working with Roger Howarth (Professor Hetson, Dawson’s Creek).
  • Kellan Lutz (George, 90210) is in talks to star in the action flick Deathgames.




News Roundup: Gossip Girl, The O.C., 90210 and One Tree Hill

16 03 2010
  • Last night’s Gossip Girl (1.7 million viewers) stayed the same in the ratings compared to last week, making that two weeks in a row with a record-low. Meanwhile, Life Unexpected had a nice increase in ratings, which The CW (rightfully) bragged about in a press release, while also spinning GG’s numbers.
  • At work today, Gossip Cop and I busted Access Hollywood and OK! Magazine for citing one of the fake Twitter accounts for Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl).
  • Zap2it has an interview with Aaron Tveit (Tripp, Gossip Girl), mostly about Ugly Betty.
  • Hilary Duff (Olivia, Gossip Girl) and Chris Carmack (Luke, The O.C.) star in the TV movie Beauty & The Briefcase, which will air on ABCFamily April 18.
  • Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan, The O.C.) wrote a piece for TVGuide.com about tonight’s episode of Southland. Apparently this is the third week he’s done this. News to me!
  • Bonnie Somerville (Rachel, The O.C.) and Matt Lanter (Liam, 90210) each participated in a short trivia game with DailyFill, where the questions happened to be predominantly about our teen dramas!
  • The CW Source, BuzzSugar and TeenTelevision.com have spoilish interviews with Tristan Wilds (Dixon, 90210).
  • Alloy and TV.com have spoilish interviews with Michael Steger (Navid, 90210). Really not happy with the factually-inaccurate and insulting answer he gave to the last question in the latter one. (BTW, have you read my interview with him?)
  • Crushable.com has a post highlighting “5 Dudes Who Are Way Too Old To Be Playing Teenagers on TV,” including Trevor Donovan (Teddy, 90210) and making references to Steger and Andrea (Gabrielle Carteris, Beverly Hills 90210).
  • The Walshes ranked 49th in TV Guide Magazine’s list of Top 50 TV Families.
  • For the week of February 22, One Tree Hill had one of the top 10 biggest gains when DVR ratings were factored in.
  • Hilarie Burton (Peyton, One Tree Hill) posted a new vlog earlier this month on the SoGoPro site.
  • Kate Voegele (Mia, One Tree Hill) is going on tour with Jordin Sparks.
  • Michaela McManus (Lindsey, One Tree Hill) has been cast as one of the leads in the CW pilot Nomads.




News Roundup: 90210, Gossip Girl, The O.C. and More

21 04 2009
  • Korbi has an interview with Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair, 90210’s executive producer.
  • Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210) had a very interesting interview with TVGuide.com.  Lots of good stuff!
  • There’s an adorable picture of Tori and daughter Stella here.
  • Candy Spelling says she’ll watch Tori on 90210.  You have to read her answer when she’s asked if she would ever appear on the show!
  • The Veronicas will appear on 90210 in May.
  • AnnaLynne McCord (Naomi, 90210) will spend the summer backpacking through Europe.
  • Jason Lewis (Rob, Beverly Hills 90210) and Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) are among the stars in a Funny or Die video.
  • Here’s the Mark Schwahn preview for next week’s OTH.
  • The CW is planning “cwinger” ads for Gossip Girl that will air partly during the show and partly on-line.
  • Into the Blue 2 starring Chris Carmack (Luke, The O.C.) will be released on DVD this week.




Spoiler: Watch with Kristin

6 04 2009

RELEVANT QUESTIONS–DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!

Donna in Las Vegas: Any news on Gossip Girl?

Check out the spoiler section for more dish on Serena, Mr. Serena and Georgina! We actually have to wait until April 20 for new Gossip Girl episodes, but that just means we’re going to have to while the hours while we wait with a new Love Debate. If you’re a fan of either Nate-Blair or Blair-Chuck, we’re now taking arguments in favor of both sides. Write up 250 words or less about why Blair belongs with a certain guy, email it in to tvdiva@eonline.com and in the near future, we’ll post the best, most persuasive points of view and open the floor to discussion about which pairing is best. Get your submissions in by Friday if you have something to say about Blair’s one true partner.

Jamie in Newport Beach, Calif.: Any truth to the story that 90210 producers are trying to get the rights from Josh Schwartz to use his character from The O.C., Luke Ward (Chris Carmack), so they could bring him onto the show as Ethan’s cousin?

Wow, great rumor. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing good ol’ Luke on 90210. A source close to the show tells us that’s a solid “not true.”

Zarina in Connecticut: On Gossip Girl, Serena got married to Gabriel? OMG!
Darn you, promo monkeys! Always with the misdirection! But we can save our OMGs on this one, because Serena did not get married for reals.

Jenna in Irving, Texas: When does Georgina return to Gossip Girl?
Georgina returns April 27 and sticks around for the last four episodes of the season (the finale is on May 18). Georgina may have become a good Christian girl, but Michelle Trachtenberg teases that she’s still causing her fair share of trouble, “Her last name is Sparks, so sparks will fly.” Michelle adds that she is “causing quite a stir, as Georgina does,” before the end of the season. Why kind of stir? Well, sources whisper that Blair had better beware. (Eeee!)





News Roundup: Gossip Girl, 90210, One Tree Hill and More

5 03 2009
  • A new photo hints that their may be a storyline shared by Michelle Trachtenberg (Georgina, Gossip Girl) and Ed Westwick (Chuck, Gossip Girl).
  • The Haunting of Molly Hartley, starring Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl) is now available on DVD.
  • Matthew Settle (Rufus, Gossip Girl) became a first-time dad today to Aven Angelica.
  • There’s finally a new 90210 promo that includes Donna (Tori Spelling)!  Very exciting.
  • Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes, 90210) is one of Zap2it’s “best new characters of the season.”
  • 90210 is on The Must List in Entertainment Weekly’s February 27th issue.
  • In a post on the Southern Gothic Productions blog, Hilarie Burton (Peyton, One Tree Hill) thanked fans for the outpouring of support she received after she posted a video last week that hinted she would not be returning to the show next season.
  • The next episode of One Tree Hill, airing March 16th, will have a different structure, according to a video preview from Mark Schwahn.
  • The Narrows, starring Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) will be distributed digitally early this summer.
  • Bethany Joy Galeotti (Haley, One Tree Hill) filmed a short video to show her support for breast cancer awareness.
  • Chad Michael Murray (Lucas, One Tree Hill) and Chris Carmack (Luke, The O.C.) are both featured in a photo gallery about actors that started out as models.
  • In another look at CMM’s beginnings, BuddyTV has put together a gallery called The Life and Career of One Tree Hill’s Chad Michael Murray.  The feature claims he auditioned for Ryan on The O.C. but chose to go with OTH instead!







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