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

25 02 2010
  • Variety confirmed Leighton Meester (Blair, Gossip Girl) will indeed star in the film Oranges.
  • Spoiler alert! One Tree Hill will do some filming in Utah soon and co-producer Kelly Tenney has a post on the SoGoPro blog about scouting locations for it.
  • Dina Meyer (Lucinda, Beverly Hills 90210) will be on NCIS this spring.
  • OK! Magazine has an interview with Shenae Grimes (Annie, 90210) about her passion for fashion.
  • Gillian Zinser (Ivy, 90210) is now a regular on 90210. I wonder if Trevor Donovan (Teddy, 90210) already is and I missed it? He came in first in my poll on this topic and Zinser ranked second.
  • Michael Steger (Navid, The O.C.) appeared on the WPIX Morning News earlier this week. The video has a few spoilers. The accompanying article says his character is “often compared to David Silver from the original series.” Um, thoughts?
  • WPIX also had Tate Donovan (Jimmy, The O.C.) on their show this week.
  • Adam Brody (Seth, The O.C.) is in the new movie Cop Out, which will be in theaters tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow at 2pm, SoapNet will start airing The O.C. from the beginning again. It will also start over Saturday at 8am and Monday at 1pm.
  • Formosa Betrayed, starring James Van Der Beek (Dawson, Dawson’s Creek) will have a limited release tomorrow. The New York Times has an interview with him and Filmcritic.com has a review of the film.
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News Roundup: Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, 90210 and More

8 02 2010
  • Leighton Meester (Blair, Gossip Girl) and Kelly Rutherford (Lily, Gossip Girl) attended the launch party for a new H & M clothing line.
  • Meester may star in the film Oranges.
  • The Chicago Tribune has an interview with Eric Daman (costume designer, Gossip Girl).
  • High Society, The CW’s new reality show focused on Tinsley Mortimer who cameo-ed on Gossip Girl last season, will debut on March 10.
  • Butchered, which features Cari Moskow (Patty, One  Tree Hill), will be available on DVD tomorrow.
  • In many foreign countries, when writing the date, they put the day before the month. That makes tomorrow 9/02/10 for them. Hee hee.
  • E! Online has a brief interview (no pun intended) with Kellan Lutz (George, 90210) about his Calvin Klein underwear campaign.
  • Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) was on The Wendy Williams Show. Inside TV has a great clip of her discussing her first 90210 kiss, which, as we know, was with Ian Ziering (Steve, Beverly Hills 90210). The show’s official site has some more info on her appearance.
  • Also, check out these clips for more on Garth’s current campaign for heart disease awareness.
  • Daniel Cosgrove (Matt, Beverly Hills 90210) will appear on Brothers & Sisters, which is executive produced by Greg Berlanti (writer-producer, Dawson’s Creek).
  • The Boston Herald has an interview with Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek).
  • MTV has an article on James Van Der Beek (Dawson, Dawson’s Creek) and his film Formosa Betrayed.
  • Van Der Beek will be on Jimmy Fallon tomorrow night.
  • MTV also has a great article on Dawson’s Creek and what made it so good.
  • The Wendy Williams Show also a first kiss bit with Tate Donovan (Jimmy, The O.C.) from last week.
  • Dawson’s Creek and The O.C. are included in an article on shows that had strong ratings and critical acclaim at first but then lost them over time.
  • Fascinated by this article about a study on birth control education, where college students were shown an episode of The O.C. (circa Theresa’s pregnancy in season 1) or a news program on teen pregnancy and the reactions were compared. They found that “a fictional television drama may be more effective in persuading young women to use birth control.”
  • The Boston Herald also has an interview with Donovan.
  • Though it was interesting that Henri Lubatti (Henri-Michel, The O.C.) guest-starred on Chuck tonight, since both shows were/are executive produced by Josh Schwartz.
  • McG (executive producer, The O.C.) is working on the Charlie’s Angels remake. Aaron Spelling (executive producer, Beverly Hills 90210) was responsible for the original show.




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

1 02 2010
  • Broadcasting & Cable has two very interesting articles on The CW. The first analyzes the network and its future and the second is an interview with Dawn Ostroff, the top executive.
  • The above articles make it seem like Gossip Girl and 90210 are surefire renewals. We’ll see!
  • TVByTheNumbers.com has an interesting analysis of the above articles.
  • Reuters has an article on Twelve, which stars Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl).
  • Somebody to Love by Leighton Meester (Blair, Gossip Girl) is included on the soundtrack for the new movie Valentine’s Day.
  • Entertainment Tonight has a short interview with with Michelle Trachtenberg (Georgina, Gossip Girl).
  • Kristen Bell (Gossip Girl, Gossip Girl) and Dax Shepard are engaged.
  • Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea, Beverly Hills 90210) is among several actors who should make a comeback, according to a tongue-in-cheek list by BlackBook.
  • National Ledger has a few quotes from Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210) talking about working with a 90210 crew member again and whether he’ll commit  to a big TV role again.
  • Darren Star (creator, Beverly Hills 90210) is directing a movie about Anita Bryant.
  • SoapNet will air Valentine’s Day-themed or love-themed episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 and One Tree Hill on–you guessed it–Valentine’s Day. They’re calling it a marathon but it appears to me to be the normal Sunday schedule for those shows with just specific episodes picked.
  • SoapNet has a short article on and some photos from tonight’s One Tree Hill.
  • Mike Grubbs (Grubbs, One Tree Hill) and Wakey!Wakey! were on the PIX 11 Morning News this morning.
  • How To Make It In America, starring Bryan Greenberg (Jake, One Tree Hill), premieres on HBO February 14. Thanks to Kitty for the info.
  • Tate Donovan (Jimmy, The O.C.) was on The Wendy Williams Show today.




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

29 01 2010
  • Gossip Girl and 90210 scored several nominations in E! Online’s second annual CW Awards while One Tree Hill only received one.
  • MTV has an article about Twelve, starring Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl).
  • TVGuide.com named the James’ sisters’ pool fight as one of their Top Moments of the Week.
  • Examiner.com has an interview with Cullen Moss (Junk, One Tree Hill).
  • SF Universe has an interview with Michael Trucco (Cooper, One Tree Hill). His new film Meteor Storm premieres on SyFy tomorrow night.
  • Chad Michael Murray (Lucas, One Tree Hill) and Jessica Lowndes (Adrianna, 90210) both attended the first-ever DipDive Data Awards.
  • PopEater has an interview with Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210) and her husband Dean McDermott.
  • Stephanie Beacham (Iris, Beverly Hills 90210) placed fifth in the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother.
  • E! Online has quotes from both AnnaLynne McCord (Naomi, 90210) and Olivia Wilde (Alex,  The O.C.) on Haiti.
  • TVGuide.com has a video interview with Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan, The O.C.) about Southland. You can see some footage of Michael Cudlitz (Tony, Beverly Hills 90210) as McKenzie talks about their characters’ relationship.
  • E! Online has an interview with Tate Donovan (Jimmy, The O.C.) about his work on Damages.
  • EW.com’s recap of last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries feature a Dawson’s Creek comparison and a link to a classic Pacey-Joey scene.
  • James Van Der Beek (Dawson, Dawson’s Creek) credited his role on One Tree Hill (as Adam/Dixon Reese) as making him “fall in love with being on a set again.”
  • Entertainment Today has an interview with Joshua Jackson (Pacey, Dawson’s Creek) about Fringe.




Spoiler: Mega Buzz

27 01 2010

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

Got any more details on Madchen Amick’s role as Mac’s new love interest on CSI: NY? — Clarisse
ADAM:
As a matter of fact I do. “[She and Mac] will bump into each other, literally,” executive producer Pam Veasey tells me. “She is a hospital ER doctor, and we will visit her workplace many times.” Look for Mac’s first visit to the hospital to take place on March 10.

What crazy things will Phil do next on Modern Family? — Amy
MICKEY:
Last week Julie Bowen teased some sexytime between Claire and Phil, but she tells us there might be one obstacle: Facebook. “My husband has ex-girlfriends who get in touch with him and I have ex-boyfriends that get in touch with me, and we laugh about it. This being Modern Family though, it’s going to take a twist for the worse,” she says. That twist is the always enjoyable Judy Greer, who pops in to play Phil’s unstable ex. This reminds me of that time that I reconnected with that girl from the gym who taught me how to stretch. Oh wait, that wasn’t Facebook. Never mind!

I’m thinking about dropping 90210 from my TiVo lineup. Say something to stop me from doing so. — Alexa
MICKEY:
If you were unhappy with the mix of story lines in the fall episodes, imagine putting them all in a blender, leaving the cover off and hitting pulse a few times. Sure, some of your West Bev smoothie will spill out the top (never to be heard from again), but what’s left inside the blender will recombine familiar ingredients in new and interesting ways. The romantics in the hizzy might enjoy the unexpected pairings planned for the spring run.

I can’t believe Damages killed Tom! Any more bombshells coming? — Katelyn
ADAM:
Boy, are there! Look for two juicy reveals in the next episode, which present possible motives for Tom’s murder. The first causes Tom to take a personal interest in the Tobin case and may also lead to the second. “Ellen starts to help me out in my quest [for revenge],” Tate Donovan tells me, “and things start to develop in a complicated, interesting way. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Credit: TVGuide.com

****

Notes:

Madchen Amick played Catherine on Gossip Girl and Nicole on Dawson’s Creek.

Julie Bowen played Aunt Gwen on Dawson’s Creek.

Tate Donovan played Jimmy on The O.C.





Exclusive: Michael Lange On Being A Teen Drama Director

24 01 2010

What makes someone a teen drama director? Well, directing four–yes, four!–of them certainly helps! Michael Lange directed 12 episodes of Beverly Hills 90210, 7 episodes of Dawson’s Creek, 13 episodes of The O.C. and 3 episodes of One Tree Hill. Not too shabby, eh?

Lange is currently a producer on Greek and will soon start working on Drop Dead Diva. If you ever wondered what it was like working on more than one of the teen dramas–or on any show for that matter–let Lange give you some, ahem, direction.

TeenDramaWhore: How do you become a director for one of these shows or even any show?

Michael Lange: Well, I’ve been doing it for 26 years. I’m going onto my 27th year this July. I now have a long track record so I get jobs through my agent and just my reputation. I have pretty big network of people now that I’ve worked with so that’s kind of how I do it. How people get into doing it is a whole different question and is extremely different now than when I was doing it, because of technology. When I got into to directing, everything was on film. This was the early 80s–1983 to be exact. I got a job as a post-production assistant on a show and I made it my business to be in dailies, which is when everyone watched the film from the day before–every single day–and, of course, everyone showed up because it was all on film. So at lunch time, people would assemble in the screening room and everyone would watch the dailies. The same thing with all the editor’s cut, the director’s cut and the producer’s cut. It would all be screened in a screening room and anyone who was interested in having a vote on anything had to be there. That’s exactly how I got my first opportunity. We were watching a cut and it was missing a few pretty crucial pieces of footage and the producer said, “Oh my god. How are we going to fix this?” and I literally raised my hand and said “I know how to fix it,” which, of course, I didn’t know, and he said, “Okay, go.” And everything in those days was much more casual so I was able to book a facility for the next day and book talent and book a little production company to shoot it. None of that could happen today because everything is all purchase orders because of all the insurance stuff. Everything is much more regulated today. Anyway, I did my thing and everyone thought it was great and that was the beginning of my directing career.

Today, it’s more about relationships. For example, I am fairly influential in who gets to direct Greek. However, I have four colleagues–four other exec. producers on the show–all of whom want to see the footage, propose directors, take a look at their resumes, possibly meet them and then the network also gets involved. Whereas when I did it, one guy gave me a shot. No network. No other producers had to okay it. Just that one person. So now we have a big committee and also because the budgets are much tighter now than they were then, we don’t have a lot of room for missteps. So a lot of times we reject people who don’t have that much experience, even if they’re very talented. If they don’t have that much experience, we can’t really afford to take a chance in case they’re going to mess up, ‘cause then it affects everything. If someone goes seriously over-schedule, then it affects almost the rest of the season. You have to try and catch up for those extra costs. Like last year, I had an intern who was a very impressive guy, very smart, very personable and we actually wanted to give him a shot to direct an episode. Unfortunately it didn’t work out because a couple of people kind of balked at his lack of experience. So it’s tough today.

Sometimes a cameraman on a show–like our cameraman, if we go a 4th season, he’s sort of guaranteed to be able to direct an episode. Sometimes the actors on shows will make it part of their deal to direct an episode and then hope to continue directing. But for someone brand-new breaking in, it’s really, really hard now. One of the ways I suggest they can show people their work is if they make a short film. But, again, it has to be really good because they’re competing against people like me who have a lot of film on their resume and a lot of experience. It’s tough. It’s really tough. Tougher than I can ever remember it being to get in. I mean, it’s never been an easy thing to do, obviously, because there’s  a lot of people vying for not that many jobs but today even more so. It’s kind of a killer. We’ve done 64 episodes of Greek and I’ve produced on 54 of them and I think pretty much every one we have had directors that have quite a bit of experience. I don’t think we’ve given a shot to anyone that is brand-new. I think they have a better chance, in a way, on the bigger shows because they have a little bit more of a budget and therefore more room for missteps.

TDW: When you’re hired to be a director for an already established show, what are you responsible for?

Lange: Well, for example, next week the show I’m starting on is the finale of Make It Or Break It [Ed. note: Make It Or Break It is executive produced by Paul Stupin, who was the executive producer on Dawson’s Creek]. I’m not really familiar with that show. I’ve seen a couple of episodes. So what I’ll do is I’ll probably spend the first day of prep immersing myself in the show–reading as many scripts as I can and watching as many of the previous episodes of the show as they can show me. I obviously read the script I’m about to direct but I usually try to do all the other stuff first so that when I read the script, I’ll have some kind of context of what’s going on. Then once I familiarize myself with the show and the script, I try to meet the [director of photography] and maybe talk with him a bit about the style of the show that they like. I’ll try to interact a little bit with the actors and a little bit with the writer. The director does casting of any guest star roles and then also if there are any locations in the show that are not the normal ones that they shoot, you’re shown the [options] by the location manager and you figure out which ones are going to work best and that kind of stuff. They’ll run the schedule by the director to see if they’re comfortable with the amount of work each day. Then if there are any script suggestions that the director has, things that he or she doesn’t think work, obviously you’re able to weigh in on that also. It’s a little bit political and you have to sort of pick your battles a little bit. If there’s something in the script that really seriously bothers me, then I’ll usually ask around before I go to talk to the producer about it. I’ll sort of check out if that’s normally how the scenes go or maybe there’s something I don’t realize. Then if everything checks out, I’ll go and talk to the producer.

I remember once doing a David E. Kelley show. I did Ally McBeal and he was notorious for not liking anyone to comment on the scripts and there was something that really bothered me in one scene so I told the producer that I needed to go talk to him and they pretty much recommended against it. But my attitude as a director is if you’re doing it as a safe job, that’s not really what the job is. You really need to sort of put it on the line. So I decided to go in and talk to him about it and actually, luckily, he agreed with me so he made the change. But had he not agreed with me, I don’t know. But that’s a risk you take. You have to take those, I think.

TDW: So do you find it’s a balance between your vision and what the show has done thus far?

Lange: Yes, definitely. Television is a medium where each week the audience wants a version of the same show. Not literally the same story but they want the characters to be consistent, they want the show to look consistent. It’s their show. They’ve adopted it into their lives and I don’t think they want it to be different. So part of the responsibility of each director coming in is to sort of observe what the show is and basically do that. You’re sort of shepherding the show through that’s week episode and, at the end of it, it shouldn’t really look significantly different than all the other episodes. What a director can bring to a show is enthusiasm. A little bit of a different point of view is great as long as it fits what they like. Like on Drop Dead Diva, one of the things they liked about my episodes-which is why they offered me this producing position on the show–is that they felt I really got the tone of the show more than some of the other directors they had last season. So that’s something also; you try to pick up the tone of the show and basically do that. I always try to encourage a lightness on the set because I think people do their best work when they’re having a good time. That’s another thing that’s influenced by the director: the tone of the set. We’ve had some directors on Greek who are more serious and the tone of the set becomes more serious. It has some advantages but on Greek we’ve ended up leaning towards directors who are not that more serious. Well, serious about the work but not serious about how you got there.

TDW: I cover 6 shows on my site and you’ve directed 4 of them. I thought, if I was ever to interview a director for the site, it’s gotta be one that worked on as many of them as you did.

Lange: Oh my god. That’s wild.

TDW: I thought we could go chronologically and see what you remember from each of your experiences. Looking at the ones you did for Beverly Hills 90210, you directed some pretty huge episodes there. The season 4 finale [Episode 4.31-32, Mr. Walsh Goes To Washington], the season 5 premiere [Episode 5.01, What I Did On My Summer Vacation And Other Stories], the season 6 premiere [Episode 6.01, Home Is Where The Tart Is], the season 6 finale [Episode 6.31-32, You Say It’s Your Birthday], the season 9 finale [Episode 9.26, That‘s The Guy]. Those are huge benchmarks in the series. What do you remember about those? Is it different being called in for a premiere and a finale?

Lange: I had a great time doing the finales and the premieres. It is a little bit different. The finales usually–well, I think the 9 wasn’t but the other two finales were 2-hour episodes. So for the [one-hour], that show was shot in 7 days and for the two-hour, we ended up getting 14 days. And usually there was one sort of giant set piece sequence. I think in the season 4 finale, it was the carnival, right?

TDW: Yes. Season 4 you have the Greek carnival.

Lange: It was a huge amount of fun. And basically, because it’s 14 days you have more latitude in how everything is scheduled and you have more production value. I got a crane a couple of those days and everything is sort of bigger and better. So they were a huge amount of fun to direct and usually the stories are pretty epic in those finales. The same thing with the premieres, though those were 1-hour. But because it’s a premiere, you have more time to prepare. And there’s a little bit of a badge of courage thing. As a director, it’s a little more prestigious to do premieres and finales. At least in those days, on that show. Usually also there’s more publicity about them so pretty much every day on those episodes, there was someone, you know, doing interviews or behind-the-scenes stuff.

TDW: Does that translate to more pressure for you?

Lange: Well, I’m sure there is more pressure but you have to sort of train yourself as a director to not really notice the pressure too much. I’m sure it comes out somewhere in my body; I’m just not sure where. In a way, on the finale, which were, as I said, were 2-hours, it felt like to me there was less pressure in terms of time because you were able to have a little bit more time for everything. And was the Queen Mary–

TDW: That was the season 6 finale.

Lange: Yes, that was also a huge amount of fun.

TDW: I would imagine that it must be somewhat difficult to shoot on a cruise ship.

Lange: Actually, it wasn’t. It was completely a joyous experience. There were a number of scenes that were in the lobby of the ship and as soon as I got to the lobby, I said to the producer that there’s no way we’re going to shoot in this lobby because the actual lobby of the Queen Mary is extremely small. So I said we needed to build one on the stage. So that whole lobby was a set. So what you try to do is minimize the degree of difficulty that will hurt the actual shooting of the scenes but there’s a point at which, obviously, if it’s too easy, that’s not good either. It’s a bit of a judgment call. The lobby I just said we can’t do that. Then everything else–shooting on the deck, the ballroom scene with the Goo Goo Dolls–that was actually on the boat. That was great. The crew on that show, they had been doing it for a number of years and it was an excellent group of people. They knew the show well. A lot of making those sequences go well is just in the planning. When to shoot what and how to do it. That stuff. So it actually went really well on the Queen Mary.

In fact, I have one little personal anecdote, which is amusing about that one. The Queen Mary is in Long Beach, California, and I live in the Hollywood Hills. It’s like a 45-minute drive from my house to the Queen Mary. So I thought to myself that these were going to be some killer days and I decided to stay on the boat. We shot there for six days and it was actually a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. So Wednesday night I stayed on the boat, Thursday night I stayed on the boat, and then the following week, Monday and Tuesday I stayed on the boat. And I thought that way I’ll eliminate an hour-and-a-half of driving in my day. The first day, I believe, was the day we did the Goo Goo Dolls sequence. They did 3 songs. We had a lot of scenes in the big ballroom and almost the entire cast was in the scenes. I thought, well, that’s going to easily be a 14-hour day. Well, we ended up finishing it in about 11 hours and every day there was actually shorter than I imagined it to be. But I still ended up staying on the boat, which was great. We actually pretended we were on a cruise. There were a number of us that were staying aboard and we would go up to the bar and have some cocktails and appetizers. It was just completely a fantastic experience.

TDW: Wow. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Lange: It was a huge amount of fun, I must say. I always enjoyed doing that show because it was so well-produced that it was–I’m not going to say easy, because easy is the wrong word. But relative to other shows that I directed, it was just all pleasurable. There really wasn’t that much pressure and the cast was fantastic. The producer was a great guy and everything about it was really great.

TDW: In season 9 you had another big one, You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello [9.07]. It wasn’t a finale or a premiere but it was big in the history of the show because it was the last episode with Tiffani Amber Thiessen [Valerie] and it was the return episode for Luke Perry [Dylan]. Were there high expectations with that?

Lange: Everyone was looking at the dailies more closely but that was a show where there was not a lot of presence on the set of the network or the writers. I remember a couple of times, actually more early on in my experience on 90210, where I didn’t do enough shots for them and I’d have to go back and pick up some more shots but pretty much by season 9, it was a pretty smoothly-run machine. The biggest job, honestly, by that time was just to get some enthusiasm out of the cast. Because they had been doing it for so long, they were sort of not always as energetic as they should’ve been. So I would often have to cheerlead them into getting a little more energy into the scenes.

TDW: With that episode, one of the things viewers who are fans of both Valerie and Dylan complain about is that there weren’t scenes with them together. Valerie leaves and a few minutes later, Dylan shows up. Was it just built into the script that way? Did it occur to anyone that there was an opportunity for another reunion here?

Lange: I think it was just built into the script. But there was not much that happened by accident in those scripts. They were pretty well thought through. I’m sure they had good reasons for doing it.

TDW: A little over a year after your last 90210 episode, you direct your first episode of Dawson’s Creek. You directed huge episodes there, too. There’s two I want to talk about but the first one is early in season 5, where Mitch [John Wesley Shipp] dies at the end [Episode 5.03, Capeside Revisited]. There was distinct choice there not to see the car crash. You sense something is about to go wrong and then there’s like a bright white light and you sort of hear it. I was just wondering about that decision.

Lange: Very honestly, a lot of it is budgetary. We discussed it at length. I remember that pretty vividly. It starts with budget. It was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina and the budget of the show was not huge because it was The WB. The budgets were a little bit lower. It would’ve been a big deal to actually crash the car. But we could’ve made an issue of it and figured out other ways to save money on the episode. Like if I had felt it was important enough, I probably could’ve probably convinced the producer to readjust the budget and have the car crash. That’s the kind of the stuff a director can have an influence on, even only as freelancer. But I actually felt that given the emotional punch of that sequence that, in a way, it would be better to leave it to the imagination of the audience rather than vividly show it. And also, the type of show it was, I felt it would better to do it more in a representational way rather than actually show the crash.

TDW: With crash you think physical impact but by not showing it, it also had an impact–an emotional one.

Lange: Right. We talked about it quite a lot and ultimately decided it was a win-win for everybody. A win for the budget and also for the emotional punch of the scene. We all ended up feeling it would be a much more powerful scene without the crash because then the audience would just sort of feel the loss as opposed to getting all caught up in, “Oh my god, wasn’t that an amazing crash?” I think ultimately it almost felt more real by not seeing it. Once you see the crash, you’re gonna think “Oh, it was a stunt guy,” “Oh, wasn’t that amazing?” “Oh, look at all the fire” or whatever we did for the crash. This way it was all about the heart of what was happening.

TDW: The next episode I wanted to discuss was the last one you did, Joey Potter and the Capeside Redemption [6.22]. Though it was the episode before the series finale, it was almost like a series finale itself. Dawson [James Van Der Beek] and Pacey [Joshua Jackson] make up. Jen [Michelle Williams] and Jack [Kerr Smith] move to New York. Joey [Katie Holmes] finally goes to Paris. It’s just a tremendous episode in terms of quality and significance.

Lange: I was literally just talking about this the other day, just from the technical aspects of the bit where Joey goes to Paris. We had at one point talked about recreating it in Wilmington and I kept saying that would be bogus. There’s nothing in Wilmington that looks like Paris. So we actually ended up having a small–you know, sometimes, you just have to sort of say things as a director that are just going to sound insane. And I just said, “Let’s do this. If we can get a shot in that mall, at the of which is the Eiffel Town and the other side is a museum. I’d love to have a shot that starts on the museum, pans around and ends up on the Eiffel Tower in the background and I will figure  a way to get Katie into that shot with a green screen.” They look at you like you’re crazy and then you call the visual effects guys and they say, “Yeah, I guess we can do that” and you just figure it out. So we ended up shooting the Katie part of it with her standing on a picnic table in the harbor in Wilmington and we just dolly-ed around her and stuck it into the green screen. It was pretty cool. And then we ended up doing a day in Montreal, where we took her up to Montreal, which does look a lot like Paris. So we shot for a day up there and that really sort of put her there, which was kind of cool.

TDW: It’s just such an amazing capstone to the series. If that was the series finale, that would’ve been perfectly okay. Anyway, later that year you moved onto The O.C. and with The O.C. you managed to direct an episode in every season.

Lange: I did!

TDW: But the first one you did [Episode 1.08, The Rescue] was kind of a big one because it was kind of like a season premiere. The first seven episodes of the series had aired all in a row, beginning in August, and then the show was on hiatus for a month and you had the responsibility of presenting the next episode where the network knew a whole bunch of new people would be tuning in. Was that like doing a season premiere?

Lange: Yes. It definitely was. There were a lot of eyes on that one. A lot of people on the set. It was a big episode for them, as you said, because it was effectively a premiere. And also there was pretty big cliff-hanger with Marissa [Mischa Barton] in Mexico. So in my episode, she was in the hospital for pretty much the entire episode. The big pressure in that one is that in a premiere, everyone wants it to be pretty splashy and yet I was sort of saddled with having Mischa Barton in the hospital in one room for most of the episode. It was a collaborative effort but you have to sort of figure out ways to keep it interesting visually so it doesn’t feel like she’s in the room the whole time. That was sort of the big pressure and challenge of that episode.

TDW: With The O.C., now you have your second teen drama that’s set in California but with different looks. Both are depictions of rich lifestyles in California but have different feels.

Lange: A lot of it is 90210 was started in…

TDW: 1990.

Lange: So The O.C. was like 10 years later, right?

TDW: Thirteen. 1990 to 2003.

Lange: So a lot of it is just because the times have changed and technology. A lot of the look of television has to do with what we think people are expecting to see, based on movies and stuff. The audience for television now is pretty sophisticated visually. So if you look at old television shows, although the content may be great, visually a lot of them are pretty crappy because I think in those days the audiences weren’t as sophisticated visually as they are now and not as demanding. So we’re always trying to keep up with that to some degree. And then 90210, because it was Spelling and they were very, very conscious of the budget there and it was a pretty inexpensive show to make, the look of that show they didn’t care so much. But The O.C., you know, [executive producer] McG was sort of one of the influences of the show and [creator, executive producer] Josh Schwartz was a brand-new young guy. They were wanting to appeal to a much more visually hip audience. It was the first show where the whole kind of concept of wish fulfillment was talked about. I remember in my first meeting with Josh, he said “Basically, what we want to do on this show is we want to create a show where the audience wants to go there and be in the show or be in that fictional community. Every scene needs be ‘I want to do that, I want to be there.’” So that’s all wrapped up in how it looks. The set design, everything about it, was much more thought through than on 90210.

TDW: Speaking of sophisticated direction, in one of those episodes, you directed George Lucas [Episode 2.23, The O.Sea].

Lange: I did! That was cool. That was actually the second time I had ever met him. The first time, coincidentally, was on 90210. We shot a scene at the airport in L.A. and it turns out it was George Lucas’ daughter’s 16th birthday and all she wanted–she was a huge fan of the show–for her birthday was to visit the set of 90210. So that was the day that worked out for them to visit. I knew in advance that was he coming so whatever the time was, this giant limousine pulls up at LAX with his daughter, who I can’t even remember, and him. So we met there, which was funny, so then the episode where Seth [Adam Brody] ends up having dinner with him, it was really cool that I was able to direct those scenes. It was fun. He’s an interesting guy. Obviously kind of a genius. But he’s completely interested in technology. That’s his big thing. He’s not a great actor.

TDW: No. It was very much him just reading the lines.

Lange: Right, exactly. At one point, I think in the second scene, I can’t remember specifically what the line was–it was something like “What?! You’re doing what?!”–and he just couldn’t do it. So finally I said, “George, it needs to be more Jewish.” And he actually said, “Oh, you should’ve gotten the other guy for that then,” meaning Steven Spielberg. But I said, “I’m not sure what you mean, George, because there’s a lot of Jewish directors in this business.” And he said, “No, I mean Spielberg” and I had to say, “No, I knew you meant that.” He didn’t have a great sense of humor, I must say.

TDW: I just remember being surprised that he even did the show at all.

Lange: I was surprised too, but I think, again, he had a daughter–not the same one that was at 90210 but his younger daughter–who was a huge fan of the show. So she came and it was like a visit from the Queen. All the cast was sort of commanded to be there and the daughter got to meet all of them and have pictures. It was quite the event.

TDW: Two other episodes that stand out to me for the drama in them is in season 3. There’s a sequence where you have Ryan [Benjamin McKenzie] and Marissa on the beach and they’re having sex for the first time but the sequence is inter-cut with Jimmy [Tate Donovan], Marissa’s father, getting the crap beat out of him [Episode 3.03, The End of Innocence]. And the scenes just go back and forth in rapid cuts. That was just intense.

Lange: That was very intense. I actually had a funny thing on that, too. He got the crap beat out of him underneath the pier and I wanted to have a bit where they smashed his head into one of those concrete columns and I said I really couldn’t do it with a stunt guy because it needed to be up close and personal to really sell. So I actually had them make an overlay piece out of foam that looked exactly like concrete so we were able to shoot his face being smashed into it. That was pretty cool.

TDW: Wow. The next one I was going to say is actually a death later that season. You have Johnny [Ryan Donowho] falling from the cliff [Episode 3.14, The Cliffhanger] and, like with Dawson’s Creek, we see it start to happen but we don’t see the point of impact.

Lange: Right. I think it’s the same sort of the thing. The value of showing this boy falling and hitting the ground is not huge, I think, emotionally. Both of the shows are emotional-based. You want to always have the heart and the emotion. If you show too much graphic stuff, it’s going to take away from the real story.

TDW: The last one I wanted to mention was in season 4, a really comedic episode [Episode 4.06, The Summer Bummer]. You had Ryan with all these crazy fantasies about Taylor [Autumn Reeser].

Lange: Oh my god. That was fantastic.

TDW: And you also had this character of Che [Chris Pratt], a hippie-ish guy Summer [Rachel Bilson] met at Brown, and he handcuffs himself to her. When you’re doing the dramatic episodes versus the lighter ones, what’s it like on set? Are things more tense in the dramatic ones?

Lange: I think that depends a lot on the director. I am always pretty much light. So when I direct, even in dramatic scenes, I always like to keep it light.

TDW: Your time on The O.C. overlapped with One Tree Hill and One Tree Hill brought you back to Wilmington. Do you have any comments on filming in Los Angeles versus Wilmington and do you prefer one to the other?

Lange: They both have their advantages. I love Wilmington. It’s a lot easier to get around there. The people there, because not that many things are filmed there, they’re always happy to help out and oblige when we use locations there. They’re always excited about it–“Oh, they’re filming a movie here!”–whereas in L.A., everyone’s much more jaded about the whole experience. In Wilmington you never have anyone turning up the music because they hate that you’re there, whereas in L.A., that happens more frequently than I’d like to say. So that aspect of it is great. For me, I live in L.A. and I have a family so I like being home. Being away from home is not that great. Also, although the crew on both Dawson’s and One Tree Hill were excellent, I think the best crews are in L.A. for sure. There’s no question about that. There’s definitely excellent crews in other places but if you want the best of the best, L.A. is the place and the same thing with casting. A lot of times with the smaller roles–although the talent pool in Wilmington is certainly wonderful; they’re all very nice people–the truth of it is you get a much deeper choice, many more choices, of actors in L.A. Like if you go out of for a small part, you’ll see 20 people in L.A., of which maybe 15 of them will be good for the part and 5 of them will be great. In Wilmington you’ll see maybe 5 people for the part and 4 of them will be okay and 1 of them will be good. So the talent pool, in every aspect–crew and cast–is just better in L.A.

TDW: Of the four shows, One Tree Hill you directed the least with your last episode in 2007 but of the four, it’s the only still on. Because of your commitment to Greek and other things, is it unlikely you’ll go back there at all?

Lange: Yeah, probably not. I don’t think I’ll go back there. They have called me a couple of times but I’m not available. But I like the show and I love Wilmington and the crew and everything is great about it. I always have a good time.

TDW: Looking at all four of these shows, they get lumped together in this teen drama category but do you see any distinct differences between them?

Lange: I think all things being equal–if you produced all of them at the same time–they’d probably be pretty similar. A lot of shows are reflections of the time in which they’re created and produced. Because, after all, these kind of dramas are reflecting the mores of the culture they’re about and that’s all sort of evolving and changing as time goes by. I think if you look back historically at the–it’d be interesting to look back 100 years from now; you can probably get a pretty good idea of what teenage culture was like from those shows. And if you looked at them together, you could probably see the evolution of how things have evolved. Obviously there’s many similarities that have concerned teenagers from pre-historic times, I’m sure.

TDW: Have you checked out the new 90210 at all?

Lange: No, I haven’t seen it. Most of it is because I’m pretty busy but part of it is because, to me, the real one is the one I did. The new one is just a pathetic copy. Well, that’s stupid of me to say because it’s based on nothing. I haven’t seen the show. It’s just an emotional reaction because I feel very close to [the original] 90210. It’s literally based on no knowledge [of the new show] whatsoever.

TDW: Have you see any of Gossip Girl?

Lange: Just one or two of them and I think that one, it’s not really my thing. And also working on Greek, because it’s so authentic–it’s a little bit heightened but it has an authenticity about it–it makes me sort of cringe when I see these shows that just don’t feel real to me and that’s one of them. I’m from New York and it’s not a New York that I recognize.

TDW: My last question is two-fold. What about Greek do you love so much and does working on it differ from a traditional broadcast teen drama, given that it’s on a cable channel?

Lange: What I love about it is I love the way it sort of evokes–even in me, I went to college a long time ago but it just has such an authentic quality to it–memories and feelings that are just kind of wonderful to sort of play around with in my head. I always figure a director is basically a highly paid and hopefully educated audience. So I assume it has a similar affect on people watching the show. The issues it deals with and the way it deals with issues between people, and the heart, which is just a big part of the show as well as the comedy, is just something that I love about it.

Because we’re on ABC Family we have to be a little more careful than we would like to be in terms of the drinking and the partying and language and stuff like that. There’s a little bit of battling occasionally between us and the network over stuff we want to do. We had this one sequence where it was supposed to be at a homecoming parade or whatever and there was an Antony and Cleopatra float. The float was built by the Omega Chis, who are kind of the straight-arrow guys. The KTs re-rigged it so it looked like Cleopatra was going down on Antony and at one point there was an explosion of foam from a beer, which was supposed to simulate, you know, an orgasm and the network wouldn’t let us do that. In fact, we had to carefully make sure it didn’t look like she was doing that. So there’s sort of those issues but those would probably be the same on network television. And then, of course, the cable budgets are significantly lower so there’s the production challenge of trying to make a show which has to look as good and feel as good. It can’t feel like it’s a low-budget show so that it a little more challenging but, truthfully, that is kind of fun to me. Other than that, it’s not dissimilar from how it would be on a regular network.

TDW: What is the outlook on a 4th season?

Lange: You know, it’s impossible to say really. It would be guessing. They’re going to let us know by the middle in February. It’s hard to tell.

TDW: Yeah. People are speculating now for all the other shows as well but with the upfronts still so far away, it’s a little premature.

Lange: Very. We’re back on the air a week from today [now tomorrow] and if the ratings are great, most likely we’ll get picked up and if the ratings are bad, most likely we won’t and if the ratings are medium, then we won’t know.

On that note, I encourage you all to tune in tomorrow night at 10pm eastern on ABC Family for Greek’s mid-season premiere.

Come back next week for another exclusive interview!

TDW Interview Index





Fun Fact

24 09 2009

Did you know many characters on our teen dramas have the same names?

Keep reading for tons of examples:

David: a main character on Beverly Hills 90210, and Jack’s boyfriend on Dawson’s Creek

Scott: a main character on Beverly Hills 90210 and a last name on One Tree Hill

Matt: a main character on Beverly Hills 90210, Joey’s mural-wrecker on Dawson’s Creek and Sandy’s partner on The O.C.

Zach: Carly’s son on Beverly Hills 90210 and Summer’s boyfriend on The O.C.

Nikki/Nicki: Brandon’s girlfriend on Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s classmate on Dawson’s Creek and Jake’s babymama on One Tree Hill

Samantha/Sam: Steve’s mom on Beverly Hills 90210 and Brooke’s “foster kid” on One Tree Hill

Abby: Valerie’s mom on Beverly Hills 90210, Jen’s friend on Dawson’s Creek and the witness to Keith’s murder on One Tree Hill

Emma: Brandon’s cheatee on Beverly Hills 90210 and Pacey & Jack’s roommate on Dawson’s Creek

Henry: Brandon’s boss on Beverly Hills 90210 and Jen’s boyfriend on Dawson’s Creek

Tracy: Brandon’s girlfriend on  Beverly Hills 90210 and Naomi’s mom on 90210

Cliff: Donna’s suitor on Beverly Hills 90210 and Dawson’s classmate on Dawson’s Creek

Sophie: David’s girlfriend on Beverly Hills 90210 and Sandy’s mom on The O.C.

Lauren: Matt’s wife on Beverly Hills 90210 and Jamie’s teacher on One Tree Hill

Allison/Alison: Kelly’s fellow fire victim on Beverly Hills 90210 and Dan/Jenny’s mom on Gossip Girl

Elle: the transvestite on Beverly Hills 90210 and Chuck’s mystery woman on Gossip Girl

Jen: a main character on Dawson’s Creek and Naomi’s sister on 90210

Jack: a main character on Dawson’s Creek, Dylan’s dad on Beverly Hills 90210 and Chuck’s uncle on Gossip Girl

Oliver: Dawson’s film partner on Dawson’s Creek and Marissa’s friend/suitor on The O.C.

Alex: Pacey’s boss on Dawson’s Creek and Seth/Marissa’s girlfriend on The O.C.

Eddie: Joey’s boyfriend on Dawson’s Creek and Theresa’s boyfriend on The O.C.

Ty: Jen’s boyfriend on Dawson’s Creek and Adrianna’s babydaddy on 90210

Ryan: a main character on The O.C. and 90210, and Steve’s brother on Beverly Hills 90210

Taylor: a main character on The O.C. and Haley’s sister on One Tree Hill

Jimmy: a main character on The O.C. and Mouth/Lucas’ friend on One Tree Hill

Anna: Seth’s girlfriend on The O.C. and Lucas’ girlfriend on One Tree Hill

Carter: Kirsten’s business partner on The O.C. and everyone’s frenemy on Gossip Girl

Lindsay/Lindsey: Ryan’s girlfriend on The O.C. and Lucas’ girlfriend on The O.C.

Theresa: Ryan’s girlfriend on The O.C. and the gang’s classmate/friend on One Tree Hill

Lucas/Luke: a main chacter on One Tree Hill and Marissa’s boyfriend on The O.C.

Nathan/Nate: a main character on One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl

Haley/Hailey: a main character on One Tree Hill and Kirsten’s sister on The O.C.

Dan: a main character on One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl, and Andrea’s boyfriend on Beverly  Hills 90210

Keith: a main character on One Tree Hill and Steve’s fraternity brother on Beverly Hills 90210

Karen: a main character on One Tree Hill and Pacey’s co-worker on Dawson’s Creek

Deb/Debbie: a main character on One Tree Hill and 90210

Rachel: a main character on One Tree Hill, Sandy’s colleague on The O.C. and Serena/Blair’s teacher on Gossip Girl

Cooper: Nathan’s uncle on One Tree Hill and a last name on The O.C.

Chuck: a main character on Gossip Girl and Jamie’s classmate on One Tree Hill

Jenny: a main character on Gossip Girl and Jake’s daughter on One Tree Hill

Lily: a main character on Gossip Girl, Dawson’s sister on Dawson’s Creek and Lucas’ sister on One Tree Hill

Ethan: a main character on 90210 and Jack’s boyfriend on Dawson’s Creek

Dixon: a main character on 90210 and Lucas’ director on One Tree Hill








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