Exclusive: Ryan Eggold Talks 90210 Day, Season 3 And Creative Castmates

13 09 2010

Take a deep breath. The wait is over. After the second season finale left fans with quite a few cliff-hangers, 90210’s third season begins tonight.  But make no mistake: a new season won’t necessarily bring answers. The one thing we can count on is new storylines.

And, thankfully, I could count on Ryan Eggold (Ryan, 90210) to give me the dish last week as we chatted about the new season, his character’s evolution and just which of his talented castmates he’ll share significant screentime with in the upcoming episodes.

TeenDramaWhore: First off, I wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday.

Ryan Eggold: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

TDW: Did you celebrate on set?

Eggold: No. I didn’t. I wasn’t working. It’s really funny – I live near Universal Studios and we actually ended up going to Universal Studios. It was just sort of a random, “Why don’t we do this?” and it was a lot of fun. They have a new rollercoaster there that’s awesome.

TDW: Really? I’d love to try it.

Eggold: Yeah, this new Mummy ride. It was fantastic.

TDW: Well, I’ve been meaning to come out to L.A., and I was really bummed that I missed last week’s City of Beverly Hills’ 9-02-10 Day event.

Eggold: Yes! Oh my gosh, it was insane.

TDW: What did it mean to you to be part of the 90210 franchise on that day?

Eggold: It was cool. It was really fun. It was kind of weird because in Beverly Hills, and all over the place actually, they had posters up that said 90210 for 9-02-10 Day, not for the show. But it felt like it was for our show, because I can’t separate 90210 from anything but the show. I’d just see these posters all over town, in L.A. and Hollywood. It was kind of overwhelming, but it was fun. It was fun to be a part of something that means something to the history of a city.

TDW: I was able to watch a live-stream of the red carpet and part of the event online, and what I loved was seeing almost the whole cast there. The whole cast hasn’t been out in public for a while. There were only a few of you at The CW upfront, so this was the first time nearly all of you were together at an event in a long time. It was a really special event.

Eggold: Yeah, that’s true. I didn’t even think about that. It has been a while since everyone’s been out somewhere together. It was fun.

TDW: And you guys got feted with all sorts of amazing food and wine!

Eggold: Oh, there was some incredible food. If you make it out here, you have to eat in Beverly Hills. Everyone was sampling their restaurants, and it was amazing. And I was really hungry, too, so I was walking around eating everything in sight. It was delicious. There’s this place called Bouchon and they had these melons with feta cheese on top of it, and it was the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.

TDW: That’s awesome. So, there were no cast members there from the original series, right?

Eggold: No, there weren’t. I’m not sure why. I don’t know if they invited them or didn’t. I assume they did but I’m not sure. I assumed I’d see at least Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) there or somebody, you know?

TDW: What memories do you have of the original show?

Eggold: I remember Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210) being just sizzling. And I remember being just too young to be participating in what they were, in the sense that they’d be drinking and going to parties and having sex and all these things, and I’d be like, “What is that? I want to check that out. I don’t really know what it is, but one day I’m going to be a big kid like them and I’m going to do that stuff and it’s going to be awesome.” That’s what I remember.

TDW: That’s really funny, because I was really young when I started watching and it put these ideas in my head of what it was supposed to be like to be a teenager, and I always felt really crappy when my life didn’t measure up to theirs.

Eggold: Yeah, when you didn’t get a Ferrari for your birthday.

TDW: Yeah, exactly. Alright, back to the present day and this show and this show’s cast. A music video by Shenae Grimes (Annie) was recently released, and you starred in it. How did that come about?

Eggold: Shenae wanted to experiment with directing, and she got this song together. We actually ended up recording it here at my place, and had a lot of fun. She was embarrassed to sing, but she did and sounds great. She did a really great job. Everyone that’s seen it has said it looks really great and came out really well, and I agree. I hope she continues directing stuff. It’s fun to mess around with your friends in terms of making a short film or making a little music video or whatever.

TDW: I really loved it, and it was a surprise to see your face in the video and then it was a surprise again to see your name in the credits for providing some of the music as well. It just got me thinking how the whole cast has all these different side projects going on. Quite a few of you are involved in music, from Jessica Lowndes (Adrianna) to Tristan (Wilds, Dixon). All of you have these other avenues of art that you’re experimenting in.

Eggold: Yeah, it’s cool. There’s some really creative people on the show, and it’s really fun. I think everyone’s going to keep doing their little passion projects, whether it’s their music or writing or whatever they’re working on. Shenae’s into photography, too, and everyone’s got different things going on. I know Jessica Lowndes is releasing a single, and Tristan’s trying to put a record together, and I’m sort of trying to put some stuff together. It’ll be cool to start hearing those things, and seeing those things come to fruition.

TDW: I don’t expect you to remember, but I’ve actually interviewed you twice before.

Eggold: Oh, wow.

TDW: It was more than two years ago, on back-to-back days. It was your first CW upfront and the next day you guys came to the PEOPLE magazine offices where I was interning at the time.

Eggold: Yes!

TDW: And you guys just had preliminary ideas of what shape your characters would take, and I don’t think anyone could’ve guessed Ryan would now be struggling with alcohol and his self-confidence and about to be a father. He’s come a long way in just two short seasons.

Eggold: He’s fallen a long ways. It’s so funny to think about that day. When we first were starting the show, we had no idea what to expect.

TDW: I think an original storyline that you guys teased in those first few interviews was possibly a student-teacher romance, and that never happened. I understand showrunners have changed, and storylines are always rewritten. But something I’ve noticed recently is that Ryan isn’t interacting with the West Beverly students as much as he used to.

Eggold: No. He’s definitely more in his own storyline with Jen (Sara Foster). But this season Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) and I develop sort of a relationship, because I’m having a kid with her sister and sort of being part of the family in that way. Their relationship is affected because of it. Naomi and Jen haven’t been the best of sisters, but through this and her having a nephew, they kind of come back together a bit, which is nice to see. Also because of the Mr. Cannon (Hal Ozsan) stuff, which I caught a glimpse of in the finale of season 2, Naomi’s dealing with some really interesting stuff and some terrible stuff from what happened. I sort of become part of that with her and help her with that. I think Ryan is a good sort of – what’s the word, not role model – he’s a good guy to be a teacher because he’s grounded and he’s got a good heart. He cares for his students. I think he can be there for her. And it’s great to work with AnnaLynne.

TDW: What storylines would you like to see for him, or is there a cast member you haven’t worked with much that you’d like to share some scenes with?

Eggold: I’ve always said that I want to work with Lori (Loughlin, Debbie). That would be a lot of fun. I’d love to do some more stuff with Tristan, just because we have such a great time off set. He’s such a great dude. I often work with my romantic partners, whether it’s Jen or Laurel (Kelly Lynch) or somebody, and I’d like to see [Ryan] branch out of that, and see him develop relationships with the kids, maybe a new character or something.

TDW: I believe you guys are about a quarter of the way through the season in terms of script reads, and I thought it would be fun to play a quick game of Two Truths And A Lie. So if you could give me three plausible spoilers for the upcoming season, two of which are completely true and one of which, while possible, isn’t at all going to happen.

Eggold: Okay, so two things that are true and one’s not. Somebody dies in the first episode. Somebody is born in the first episode. And somebody becomes a woman, who is a man originally, in the first episode.

TDW: Funny. Very nice. Thank you. One last question, and I always ask everyone this because I keep track of it for my readers. I wanted to confirm that you’re not on Twitter. I know you’re not, but people rather hear it from you.

Eggold: I’m not on Twitter. I’m like a caveman. I’m not on Facebook. I don’t even know if MySpace exists anymore. I’m not on Twitter. I feel disconnected. I’m probably a loser because  I’m not on any of these things.

TDW: Well, I don’t think you’re a loser. You’re a hot guy and a star of a popular show. So you’re definitely not in loser territory.

Eggold: I like your interpretation better.

TDW: Thank you. But I would maybe ask your castmates to help set you up with a Twitter account. Nearly all of them have joined in the last year, and I think you have to be next.

Eggold: What do I say? What do you do on Twitter? Do I just say “I’m eating breakfast”?

TDW: Well, AnnaLynne likes to share a lot of her charity endeavors. Trevor (Donovan, Teddy) holds a lot of contests. He gives away swag to his followers. Tristan shares his music, and he’ll go on Ustream and show us him recording his music. People do say what they have for breakfast, and others get to know their fans. It’s what you make of it. It’s like “Choose Your Own Adventure” because you can choose who to follow and who to reply to and all that.

Eggold: It sounds really cool. It sounds like a lot of work.

TDW: Well, there’s no quota for how many times you have to tweet. But if you disappear, I might be upset with you but I’ll get over it eventually.

Eggold: I would like to share a little bit of music. But I would end up writing bizarre comments, just those weird thoughts that you have mid-day that you don’t share with people. I would end up sharing those and everyone would know I’m a total weirdo.

TDW: Well, I think Kanye West has that area covered on Twitter, but there’s room for you, too. And I know fans would love to have you. So if you do it, great.

Eggold: I’m fighting this 21st century but I probably have to join.

TDW Interview Index


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

9 08 2010
  • The Real One Tree Hill Twitter account is hosting a contest: tweet them why you’ve stuck with OTH and you can win a limited edition sticker.
  • There will be a One Tree Hill/Life Unexpected crossover this season. Mild spoilers involved so read at your own risk. Also, odd that Ausiello vastly overstated OTH’s ratings. Also also, LUX stars Shiri Appleby (Rene, Beverly Hills 90210) and Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek).
  • EcoStiletto has an interview with Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill).
  • Jana Kramer (Alex, One Tree Hill) and Johnathon Schaeach have split. The two married last month.
  • Daemon’s TV has a interview with Hilarie Burton (Peyton, One Tree Hill).
  • Burton makes her first White Collar appearance tomorrow night. The show also features Tiffani Amber Thiessen (Valerie, Beverly Hills 90210).
  • PEOPLE.com has a brief interview with Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210).
  • The August 16 issue of PEOPLE has a brief interview with Vanessa Marcil (Gina, Beverly Hills 90210).
  • Gossip Cop wrote a must-read piece about the questionable treatment of Tori Spelling’s (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210) daughter by the paparazzi.
  • Matt Lanter (Liam, 90210) spoke with PEOPLE.com about Vampires Suck.
  • Zap2it posted a video of Leighton Meester (Blair, Gossip Girl) speaking with the press after her Teen Choice 2010 win.
  • Twelve director Joel Shumacher spoke about Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl) and GG in a New York magazine interview.
  • Rachel Bilson (Summer, The O.C.) and Hayden Christensen have officially called off their engagement. It was previously reported that they were “taking a break.”




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

6 08 2010
  • Twelve, starring Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl), opened today in limited release.
  • Thanks to Alyssa for giving me the heads-up that Hot Topic is selling a Beverly Hills 90210 t-shirt. I want, I want, I want!
  • Jason Priestley’s (Brandon, Beverly Hills 90210) first appearance on Scoundrels is this Sunday. The show’s star, Leven Rambin, had interesting things to say about him in an interview.
  • Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) was on the Today show this morning.
  • Wonderwall has an interview with Garth about her work with the American Association of Orthodontists and their StyleNSmile campaign. I believe this is what Garth also discussed on the Today show.
  • Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) tweeted that James Lafferty (Nathan, One Tree Hill) is bartending a charity night in Wilmington this Saturday.
  • Doug Liman (executive producer, The O.C.) is doing a documentary pilot for A&E called The Unexplained.
  • The Extra Man, featuring Katie Holmes (Joey, Dawson’s Creek), opened today in limited release.




News Roundup: 90210, One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl

4 08 2010
  • SoapNet announced a Beverly Hills 90210 and One Tree Hill marathon for this Sunday, during OTH’s normal 3-7pm timeslot, featuring two “school-themed episodes” of each. I was going to wait to mention this but it’s worth noting now that OTH will not air in its normal slot next Sunday, to allow for a special General Hospital marathon featuring Vanessa Marcil (Gina, Beverly Hills 90210).
  • Marcil now has an official site.
  • Marcil will be on The View tomorrow.
  • Zap2it has a brief interview with Marcil about General Hospital.
  • Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) and hubby Peter Facinelli have put their home up for sale.
  • BuzzSugar has a spoiler-filled interview with Matt Lanter (Liam, 90210).
  • Ryan O’Neal (Spence, 90210) will film a reality show called Lost & Found with his daughter, Tatum.
  • Austin Nichols (Julian, One Tree Hill) tweeted that he is running a half-marathon. If you recall, Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) wrote a blog post earlier this week saying she plans to do the same.
  • The Associated Press has an interesting but brief video interview with Hilarie Burton (Peyton, One Tree Hill). It includes her saying the quotes about her personal life that were released earlier this week.
  • Kristen Bell (Gossip Girl, Gossip Girl) is in a new PSA for Stand Up To Cancer.




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

25 06 2010
  • Digital Spy has an interesting video interview with Ed Westwick (Chuck, Gossip Girl). Aside from Gossip Girl stuff, he has nice things to say about working with Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) on Chalet Girl and even mentions The O.C.
  • Examiner.com has an interview with Bush and Austin Nichols (Julian, One Tree Hill) about the crisis in the Gulf.
  • Sunday will be the first appearance of Joe Manganiello (Owen, One Tree Hill) on True Blood.
  • MSNBC (but really Access Hollywood) has a great interview with Manganiello.
  • AnnaLynne McCord (Naomi, 90210) and Kellan Lutz (George, 90210) made their first formal public appearance as a couple last night when they walked the red carpet together at the Eclipse premiere. Also there: Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) and hubby Peter Facinelli. Facinelli and Lutz both appear in Eclipse.
  • CNN has a good interview with Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210), in which she makes an interesting comment about 90210.




News Roundup: One Tree Hill and 90210

22 06 2010




Cliffnotes: Uncharted terriTORI

20 06 2010

While waiting on line at a book signing for uncharted terriTORI by Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210), I finished half the book.

It wasn’t that I was bored or anything. I was standing with some great people (hi, Lindsay!) and seething with jealousy at the girl who came wearing a Donna Martin Graduates shirt and a Beverly Hills 90210 pocketbook.

It’s that the book is that easy to read. The conversational tone and style comes as no surprise to someone who has read both of Tori’s prior books, sTORI telling and Mommywood. You breeze through them in part because you feel like Tori’s talking to you and in part because you’re on a journey, Tori’s journey.

sTORI telling took you through Tori’s life as far back as she could remember up to about 2008. Mommywood overlapped slightly but continued telling the story of her life with a focus on the major new task she faced: parenting two children. And uncharted terriTORI invites you into the next phase of Tori’s life, the uncharted territory she ventures into as a wife, mom and businesswoman.

What I noticed as I was close to finishing the book and thinking about what I would write on TDW is that, unlike other times I review books for TDW or plan to look at them in a scholarly way, I did not mark it up. There were no notes in the margins, no sentences underlined and no words circled. I couldn’t figure out why. It’s not as if the books are delicate masterpieces. Was it because they were by Tori Spelling, an actress from my all-time favorite television show? Quite possibly.

And then I realized I didn’t mark up Candy Spelling’s book Candyland either. It reminded me just how god-like I consider Aaron Spelling, the man largely responsible for creating the teen drama genre. I associate Candy and Tori with him, him with Beverly Hills 90210 or Tori with Beverly Hills 90210 and the show with him. No matter how you slice it, The Spellings are a family I feel indebted to.

It’s no surprise then that my favorite parts of uncharted terriTORI were reading about Aaron, Candy and Tori’s brother Randy. As I had in the past, I cried reading about the deterioration of Tori’s relationships with her mom and Randy, her reflections on what was and what they had become.

Of seeing Randy for the first time in two years, Tori writes, “I looked at Randy’s hands: they were hands I’d known for most of  my life, I knew them so well, but I didn’t recognize them anymore. Did his hands change in two years, or had I forgotten them? We’d been so close. We were best friends. Then life went a certain way. It made me sad.” I realize that I have a not-entirely-healthy feeling of investment in this family, but if your heart doesn’t break reading that, you might want to make sure it’s not made of stone. Thankfully, as the title of the next chapter implies, the physical reunion that night was “the start of something.” I hope that something never ends.

Tori, Candy and Randy’s reunion that night takes place inside the Spelling Manor at a Christmas party complete with men dressed as toy soldiers, a Santa Claus and candy room. I never tire of hearing about the mansion, and that’s even after spending a great deal of time pouring over Candy’s descriptions of it in her book. But no matter how vivid the details, I still cannot comprehend it. I’m not sure what it says about me that one of my dreams is to one day see it in person, preferably at a Candy-hosted party. But I digress…

I cannot mislead you: discussion of BH90210 is few and far between, with sporadic references along with a few continuous pages on Tori’s current relationships with some of the cast. As little as there is quantity-wise, there is a lot of quality and I am fighting the urge to reprint everything she said. That, of course, would not be fair to Tori — you should buy the book if you want to know it all! — but I will share some parts. There’s the quote I posted earlier this week, “working on 90210 was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything,” and, as teased on the book’s inside jacket, the “I Hate Tori Club.” Now it’s not entirely clear to me that this is an actual “club” in which the BH90210 castmates actually partake, but the phrase is used to demonstrate Tori’s realization that many of her former co-stars have serious beef with her. Referenced are the entire (young) original cast with the exception of Douglas Emerson (Scott) and the inclusion of Tiffani Amber Thiessen (Valerie). It’s sad and surprising to read.

“Why did they all hate me?” Tori writes. “I was the sweet one. If it was high school (which it pretended to be and in so many ways was, I’d have been voted most popular.” At first I found this to be rather cocky and hard to believe but then I remembered what BH90210 writer-producer Larry Mollin told me in our interview: “She became a very good actress and a lovely person. Whereas all the kids kind of got jaded about the show, she always came in ‘Where’s the new script? I can’t wait to read it.’ Lovely, lovely gal. A trooper. We had some great times with her. Really well-liked by everybody. She was a trooper.” (Emphasis mine.)

What changed? I couldn’t begin to tell you. And I’m not sure Tori can either. “It was so weird,” she writes, “when we were in high school we acted like grown-ups, but now that we were grown up, it felt like high school. I thought it would be a good idea for us all to go down to the Peach Pit and talk it out over some sodas–that if is Nat, proprietor of the Peach Pit, didn’t hate me too.” Maybe that meeting will happen eventually (but probably not at the Peach Pit). In the meantime, I was comforted to know that Tori isn’t entirely alone in the BH90210 universe. She cites Jennie Garth (Kelly) as her “sole defendor.” (She also shares, in a different part, that Jennie introduced her to the word “wootle.” But I am definitely not defining it here. Read the book!)

I think we, myself included (especially as I repeatedly try to get interviews with anyone and everyone from the show), forget how deeply personal and life-changing their experiences together were. While I don’t think Tori quite forgot, too, she did experience a bit of a wake-up call. When she sees a doctor in hopes of determining the cause of headaches that have continuously plagued her for years, the doctor wants “to know what happened ten years ago when they started.” Tori writes, “Not to be melodramatic, but I gasped. I knew exactly what had happened ten years earlier: 90210 had ended. Being on the show was the only life I had known for ten years, starting at age sixteen. I went in a girl and was expected to come out a woman. In some ways I did. But it was also kind of like being pushed out of the nest and expected to fly with no safety net. My headaches had emerged then and never gone away.”

Of course, there’s so much more to the book than discussion of the Spelling family and Beverly Hills 90210 but it’s clear how interconnected everything is and you realize that the way family and work impacts all facets of her life is not all that different from the way it does ours. I think we tend to envision celebrities as living a life of leisure. We often forget that they have bills to pay, families to care for and businesses to run. In fact, Tori’s struggles are struggles we all face: the challenge of balancing work and pleasure, the insecurities that come with trying to be the best mother and wife you can be, the stress of earning a steady income, the pressure to be considered beautiful. I’m not going to pretend that Tori is just like me but there are universalities, commonalities to the issues she deals with.

But one of the things Tori and I have in common actually isn’t so universal: a dislike of the tabloids and gossip industry. Much of America relishes the lies those publications, both print and digital, spew, without realizing that they are in fact lies. I love that Tori had the guts to admit how the fabrications and sensationalism made her feel, how they impacted her life. I think if more celebrities came forward and directly addressed it — yes, going against the “all press is good press” and the “if you ignore it, it will go away” mentalities — we’d all be a lot better off.

But back to Tori: another aspect I love about all three of her books are the sections of glossy pages featuring personal photos. I love putting faces to names and seeing snapshots, literal moments in time, featuring the people we’ve heard so much about. Of course, watching Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood is helpful for that as well and may make some of the photos as well as the stories (like the cross-country RV trip) redundant.

But seeing those family photos, learning with such ease the behind-the-scenes of the life of Tori Spelling, realizing you deal with some of the very same issues, you can’t help but finish the book feeling like you know her. The Guncles are your Guncles, Mehran is your gay husband, Dean is…well, nevermind. You feel like you know Tori Spelling and you’re a better person for it.

In her dedication Tori writes, “To everyone reading this book… Find your hope within and let it inspire you on your journey. Write your own happy ending!” Tori spends much of the book sharing how she learned that lesson and I think there are few things in life more worth knowing.

*****

The book signing I went to happened to be on the day uncharted terriTORI was released. I left Gossip Cop quite early in order to make it back to Long Island and about 30 minutes northeast of where I live to the book store that was hosting the signing. I had been there once before, circa 2004, for a signing with Nicholas Sparks and his brother Micah. I didn’t know how many people to expect but I recalled that at Sparks’ signing, there was an area for everyone to sit as Sparks read a passage and the brothers took questions and the area wasn’t that big. I concluded that Tori’s signing would be similarly set up and similarly attended. Boy was I wrong.

I arrived about an hour before the event’s scheduled start, and thought I would have time to kill. To my surprise, there was already a line out the door. Inside, I saw that the line snaked much of the store’s perimeter and a cashier told me people had started lining up at 1pm, a good six hours before the signing was supposed to start. Damn, I thought. I promptly purchased the book and joined my mom on line. I spent the next three hours intermittently chatting with the people around me but mostly reading .

As the line slowly moved and Tori came into sight, I become paparazzi-like (lord, forgive me) and started snapping pics. We were not allowed to pose with her, but could have someone snap our photo as we handed her our book to be signed (my photo turned out pretty disastrous but what can you do?). We weren’t supposed to stop and chat either but, hell, I wasn’t going to listen to that. The 30 seconds I spent face-to-face with Tori were the fasted 30 seconds of my life. I can’t tell you what I said exactly — I honestly don’t remember — but I pitched her an interview and gave her my business card. And just like that, it was over. I walked down the stairs, surprised I hadn’t burst into tears but still needing to steady myself and catch my breath. My mom followed (she had gotten my copies of sTORI telling and Mommywood signed) and we left.

I think the smile is still plastered on my face.








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