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

20 08 2010
  • Paul Johansson (Dan, One Tree Hill), who is currently directing a film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, filmed a behind-the-scenes segment.
  • The Star Advertiser has an interview with Amanda Schull (Sara/Katie, One Tree Hill).
  • Ausiello has a spoiler-filled interview with Rebecca Sinclair (executive producer, 90210) about Teddy’s season 3 storyline.
  • Shenae Grimes (Annie, 90210) tweeted that she will have a blog soon.
  • Zap2it has a brief interview with Michael Steger (Navid, 90210) about his appearance on True Blood this Sunday.
  • Piranha 3D, starring Jessica Szohr (Vanessa, Gossip Girl), opened in theaters today.
  • The Press Association has a brief interview with Szohr about the film.
  • PopWrap has a spoilish interview with Szohr.
  • Check out the trailer for Fair Game, a film directed by Doug Liman (executive producer, The O.C.).
  • Gossip Cop busted another false rumor about Michelle Williams (Jen, Dawson’s Creek) dating her Blue Valentine co-star, Ryan Gosling.
  • GiveMeMyRemote.com has a fun video interview with Joshua Jackson (Pacey, Dawson’s Creek) about Pacey-Con.
  • Busy Philipps (Audrey, Dawson’s Creek) is nominated for Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy in EW.com’s EWwy Awards.
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Exclusive: Six Questions For 90210 Music Supervisor Scott Vener

13 06 2010

When 90210 featured The Script in an episode last fall, I had no idea who they were. Fast-forward to April when their single “Breakeven (Falling To Pieces)” went platinum–selling more than one million copies and playing on an endless loop inside my head.

In the last few months, I begun to increasingly wonder about 90210’s music selection process and (politely) stalked the show’s music supervisor, Scott Vener, for the low-down.

Vener took time out for a quick chat via e-mail about working on 90210 and two successful HBO shows.

TeenDramaWhore: What does it mean to be a music supervisor? What is the process for selecting music for a 90210 episode?

Scott Vener: The process is different on all shows.  But, on 90210, I pool together a library of music for the editors so they have music they can cut picture to.  I would say most of the songs come from me.  However, I’m really lucky on 90210 to be working with some really great editors who know music pretty well.  They make a lot of contributions.  Also, the showrunner [Rebecca Sinclair] has great taste and she is really supportive of using eclectic stuff, which makes my job a lot more fun rather than just placing songs that are currently charting on the radio.

TDW: Do you have a favorite 90210 “music moment,” a scene and song that really stands out to you in your memory?

Vener: I really loved using the song “Cat & Mouse” by this new group Nikki & Rich in the first episode of the season [Episode 2.01, To New Beginnings].  You can YouTube it.  It’s great!

TDW: The original 90210 had the After Dark, a club for the characters to gather where popular music artists would perform. This has also been seen on other teen shows, like The O.C., which had a place called The Bait Shop. Aside from The Script playing at the Beverly Hills Beach Club earlier this season [Episode 2.05, Environmental Hazards] and a brief performance by N.E.R.D [Episode 2.08, Women’s Intuition], the new 90210 has stayed away from that. Is that an intentional choice?

Vener: I don’t really know because I don’t write the scripts : )

TDW: How did Soundtrack 90210 come about? Any plans for a “volume 2”?

Vener: The soundtrack was CBS’s idea.  The show really lends itself to being a music-driven show.  So, having a soundtrack made sense.  I’m not sure if we’re going to do a new one.

TDW: You also work on Entourage and, more recently, How To Make It In America [starring Bryan Greenberg (Jake, One Tree Hill)]. How do you balance three shows and how do you think the music style for the shows differ?

Vener: They shoot at different times so it’s not hard to balance them all.  I definitely think the styles are really different.  There definitely is some cross-over.  I used Nas and Damian Marley’s song “As We Enter” and Broken Bells’ song “The High Road” on both 90210 and How To Make It.  But what I love about 90210 is I can use more singer-songwriter stuff that probably wouldn’t fit on either How To Make It or Entourage.  Entourage is definitely closer in style to How To Make It because they both lend themselves to hip hop.

TDW: Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have a favorite artist right now?

Vener: I really don’t like to use anything I don’t listen to in my personal life.  I definitely search music blogs all over the Internet from people all over the world.  I got a few people (blogs) working for me, who have no idea they work for me.  I feel guilty. I don’t pay them. (No, I don’t. Ha.) Foals’ new album is great.  It’s not out yet but I have it and it’s awesome.  Also, The Morning Benders, Nikki & Rich, and Freddie Gibbs.

TDW Interview Index





Exclusive: 90210’s Zachary Ray Sherman Explains Jasper’s Perspective

2 05 2010

At some point in life we all learn the lesson that things aren’t always as they appear. We’ve learned that this season with a few new characters on 90210, from Mark to Sasha to Teddy. But it’s Zachary Ray Sherman’s character, Jasper, that has perhaps elicited the strongest reaction along with the most confusion.

When we were first introduced to the character, he was grieving the loss of his uncle. From there we’ve seen him be mischievous (selling drugs to Adrianna), devious (pushing Navid down the stairs), talented (making his own movie), charming (praising Annie’s acting work) and suicidal (let’s just say the Hollywood sign isn’t meant for jumping off of). But who is the real Jasper? What does he really know about Annie? And what does he want from her?

With just 3 episodes left in the season, it seems there are still more questions than answers. In an exclusive interview, Sherman takes us inside Jasper’s mind (sharing a few spoilers along the way so consider this your warning!), explains just how that jump from the Hollywood sign was filmed and talks about his two upcoming movies.

TeenDramaWhore: When you first signed on to do 90210, you obviously knew who the character was and where you were starting out–what point A was. But did you know what point Z would be? Did you know where Jasper would end up?

Zachary Ray Sherman: No, I didn’t. I was provided with what the first episode entailed and I just worked from that. I would ask the writers here and there, and in the very first few weeks I would sit and talk with them and try to figure out what they would be able to let me know about what was coming up and where he was coming from. But it was sort of, in the grand scheme, unknown as to all the connections. We became aware as they wrote.

TDW: Did you watch any of the first season’s episodes to get acquainted with the show or the character of Annie [Shenae Grimes]?

Sherman: The only thing I pulled up prior to going to work was [because] Jasper cited Silver’s film project [Episode 1.17, Life’s A Drag]. So I knew I wanted to see that. So I pulled that up and I watched that. That was the only thing that I had seen. I hadn’t seen anything prior.

TDW: What attracted you to the role?

Sherman: Everything about it, I guess you could say. When I first read the character sketch, there was a lot of material right there within the sketch. There was seemingly substance to the part. That drew me to it. And it kept getting more interesting as we went. But, really, right from the beginning it was there. There’s turmoil going on with his uncle and he’s off kind of in his own space and world in relation to all the other kids at this school. I felt that would be pretty interesting to go in and tackle, somebody who’s outside of this whole “Beverly Hills 90210” high school world. That was pretty interesting. And it proved to be worthwhile and exciting to go through and discover.

TDW: I kept finding myself charmed by Jasper one minute and then uncomfortable the next. I really attribute that to the way you acted the part because the words on the page are there but through inflections and movements, you decided how things would be conveyed.

Sherman: I appreciate you saying that. What I wanted overall was a full picture, you know? It’s not just a one-sided agenda going on, where this character is a villain in the complete essence of just being that and functioning as that. However much as I was hearing that or people would say, you know, “This is what he’s here for” or “This is what he’s doing,” I wanted to try to fill it out as completely as I could and function in many different ways.

TDW: That relates directly to my next two questions. I do Weekly Polls on my site and a couple of weeks ago the question was “Is Jasper creepy or misunderstood?” They could choose one or the other, both or neither. Most people chose creepy and the second highest result was both.

Sherman: I would hope that it’s more uncertain as to just a simple definition of calling him creepy completely. Being misunderstood could mean many things. But I personally don’t approach the role as going for just being creepy, just being, you know, off his rocker. That’s relevant at times. I’m glad to hear people are uncertain as to what to think about the character because I think that’s a good reflection of life. There’s so many different ways to see things.

TDW: Right. And some  people were, and I think still are, rooting for Jasper and Annie as a couple and Jasper as a person. I read a few comments from people who not only believe that Jasper can be redeemed, so to speak, but that a lot of what transpired in the recent episodes was Annie’s fault, that she kind of led him on.

Sherman: A lot of his motivation in the later half of the season, once he comes clean and admits that’s he’s a drug dealer and knowing what he knows about Annie’s connection to his uncle, it all seems to start [unraveling]. Brick walls come up from Annie in his direction and I think that’s hard for him to understand and take with their past relationship and history.

TDW: I have an unanswered question about the end of the 12th episode of the season. That was Winter Wonderland, where outside of the dance, Jasper reveals that he knows Annie killed or hit his uncle. I was wondering–because I don’t think they ever got into this–how he knows and did he know all along?

Sherman: I think that will become obvious to viewers in the coming episodes when Jasper reappears and comes back to school. That’s something I had been curious about throughout my work down there. That was a big challenge for me, coming primarily from working on film where you have a script from page one to 123. When you’re working on TV week-to-week, you’re only provided with those 50 pages and you’re well aware that things can be changed days before you work or even minutes before you work as to what the writers come up with and decide to change. I was at work one day and they entirely rewrote a scene while I was waiting to go in front of the cameras. That uncertainty as an actor is a heckuva lot different than when working on a film. To know all of the back information–maybe the writers haven’t written or let you become aware of it–is something you’re always [wondering.] It’s interesting and a challenge but exciting for the most part.

TDW: The last episode you appeared in thus far was when Jasper leaped from the H of the Hollywood sign and then he’s in the hospital and his parents tell Annie that he’s going to be under psychiatric care [Episode 2.17, Sweaty Palms and Weak Knees]. Did you know you’d be coming back later in the season?

Sherman: It was sort of up in the air. I had heard both that I would be coming back and then I heard that I wouldn’t be coming back. I think that sort of reflects what I was just saying, where the showrunner [Rebecca Sinclair] and the producers and the writers are constantly refining the story as it goes day-to-day. I was pleased to hear when it finally ended up coming back my way that Jasper was going to be coming back.

TDW: With that scene at the Hollywood sign, I was just wondering how that was filmed. How did you get up there, what was cushioning you when you fell, all that.

Sherman: Well, we shot it up on the peak that neighbors the actual Hollywood sign. I went up there when they were setting up other stuff and peered over at the actual sign. So we were very close to the actual Hollywood sign. But what they did is they built a façade of seven or six of the letters and we worked off of those. Through different character angles they achieved what they achieved with that scene. But there was one point I started on a 30 foot scaffolding up on the peak, and I was up there with a couple stunt guys who were keeping me safe and that was pretty thrilling and exciting. And then they brought me down after they got that big wide shot and put me on a mock-up, 12-foot top-half of the H and we ran the whole scene. I did my stunt from there and Krishna [Rao] directed. He’s the cinematographer who works throughout the whole season. We played on that scene for a good 45 minutes.

TDW: Wow.

Sherman: It was also interesting because when I first read that that’s how they were sending Jasper away, being up on the hill and on the H, that ties into the Peg Entwistle stuff that happened back when she went up there and jumped off. So that was something I couldn’t help but think about when we were doing it. [Ed. Note: Entwistle was an actress who, in 1932, killed herself by jumping off the H of the sign.]

TDW: We obviously haven’t seen the finale yet but spoilers are slowly leaking out. We know there’s something to do with Annie, Liam [Matt Lanter] and a burning boat–and it kind of relates to you. What can you tell us?

Sherman: Jasper comes back and, you know, re-situates himself in the high school, dealing with everybody knowing what he did. He finds Annie and talks with her. From there he just sort of–you know, you’ll just have to see!

TDW: Fair enough. Not sure if you can answer this but, I’m assuming there’s a few cliff-hangers in the finale and I’m wondering if we can look forward to more Jasper in season 3. I know a while back–and this was clearly just a rumor, as you said before you didn’t know if you’d even be returning this season–there was a rumor for a while about you becoming a regular or at least fans wanting you to become a regular on the show. Any idea?

Sherman: It’s all pretty much the same as before–up in the air. I guess you can kind of play the situation out and see that Jasper is clearly around as the finale concludes so I guess it just depends on where they begin with the new season and what they decide to do. But I don’t have any details as to whether he’ll be there for good or at all or anything.

TDW: Are you getting recognized on the street at all?

Sherman: It happens here and there. It’s happened at the bank the most.

TDW: Really?

Sherman: Yeah. Also some checkers at the grocery store will say something. I’ll be walking across the street and sometimes people will shout “Jasper!” One day I was walking across Sunset Boulevard and somebody shouted “Jasper!” and I just kept my eyes forward and continued on my way. And this guy in the car next to the people who had shouted said, “Man, I think these guys know you. They want to say hi.” That was kind of new for me.

TDW: As far as I’m aware, this is one of your first big recurring roles on a weekly series. What are some of the big take-aways or lessons that you’ve learned?

Sherman: Well, it’s been a great exercise in acting, simply having to study the material to work through each week. One thing that I was quite pleased with is the way television works is you have a new director every single week. It’s sort of like strapping on new shoes each week. It keeps it fresh. You get a new set of eyes with a different person helming the episode. So the dialogue’s different, the style is different. It was cool to always have that role of director constantly changing. That was one of my favorite things about it.

TDW: I don’t know if you’re working on it right now or if you were working on it, but tell me about the movie Killer By Nature.

Sherman: That’s wrapped and it should be out, boy I don’t know, maybe within the next six months. That’s a feature film where I play a high school student–I guess he’s a senior–named Owen who has constantly had nightmares throughout his life. But when the film begins, the frequency of these nightmares have really revved up. Some of the things he’s been dreaming about, having nightmares about, begin occurring in reality, kind of around him. So it’s sort of a psychological thriller that I hope people respond to and keeps them interested. It was a good experience. It stars Ron Perlman and Armand Assante. I had a good time working on it.

TDW: That’s great. When it has a release date, I’ll let my readers know.

Sherman: Oh, great. There’s also a picture called My Suicide that will see a theatrical release in September. The guys behind that are real excited. They’ve been working really hard. I think that’s definitely a project for the audience of 90210 to look out for and hopefully be interested in. It focuses on high school kids and comes out in September, which I think is Suicide Prevention Month. They all worked really hard and achieved quite a little film that’s got awards all over the world and has been playing the festivals for a year. Hopefully people respond to that as well. I have a small but important part in there.

TDW: I look forward to seeing it. One last question. I keep track of real and fake Twitter accounts for teen drama actors and I’ve found at least one fake account for you. Can you just say for the record whether you’re on Twitter?

Sherman: There’s a fellow on there that has my name but that’s not me. I don’t have a Twitter so hopefully that clears it up.

Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!

TDW Interview Index






Random Thought

13 01 2010

After doing the Random Thought where I speculated on reasons for The CW’s mid-season scheduling, I realized it would probably be helpful to examine each of the current teen dramas and their chances of renewal.

As you’ll see below, there’s pros and cons for each show–ones that I believe are enough to warrant either renewal or cancellation. I honestly believe it could go either way. The bottom line, then, is we really just have to wait til May, when The CW officially announces their 2010-2011 schedule.

ONE TREE HILL (Average number of viewers this season: 2.5 million viewers, rounded up)

For: Of the three teen dramas, One Tree Hill has the highest ratings almost every time there’s new episodes. Cast and crew say they feel reinvigorated and have contracts for an eighth season. The network feels confident enough about it to use it as a launching pad for Life Unexpected.

Against: Fans remain split on the quality of this season. There has been a marginal drop in ratings and the show is going on eight years. At some point, someone’s going to say enough’s enough. The network could say the show has run its course and/or they want new blood. They may be more willing to say that this year, if space on the schedule is limited and an old show needs to go so they can bring in more new shows and/or focus on their younger ones. The cast and crew could say the show has run its course and/or they want to try new things. Creator/executive producer Mark Schwahn is working on a new pilot, Nashville, as well as another project for The CW.


GOSSIP GIRL (2.2 million viewers)

For: Buzz is as high as ever, with countless publications willing and ready to report on the shows and its stars. Cast and crew reportedly have contracts for a fourth season. An additional season increases the likelihood of a syndication deal and, of course, a better deal at that. The show has become a “signature” for The CW, one that they still promote heavily, which is an indication of their investment in it.

Against: Fans and critics alike have complained of a drop in quality this year. Ratings are dropping as well. Several cast members have shown an increasing interest in focusing their careers on film and music.


90210 (2.2 million viewers, rounded up)

For: Critics are responding better to this season than the last one. Critics, cast and network have said having Rebecca Sinclair take over has helped. Matt Lanter (Liam) has said he’s pretty sure they’ll get another season–and more. The cast and crew likely have contracts through a fourth season. Canceling it after two seasons would be the equivalent of The CW admitting they were wrong about the viability of a Beverly Hills 90210 spin-off and/or that they weren’t the ones capable of making the idea work. After they bragged about it so much before and during the initial launch, it would be a big embarrassment. A third season would (arguably) allow them to say they successfully created the next installment in the 90210 franchise, one that lasted for a respectable three years.

Against: The show was among the lowest-rated of 2009 for any broadcast network and critics consider it to be largely unsuccessful compared to the original.


Since this is a teen drama site, you’ll notice I didn’t include Life Unexpected, The Vampire Diaries, Melrose Place, Smallville and Supernatural. But for the sake of completeness, here’s my take on those: for LUX, it all depends on the ratings the first 13 episodes get and whether critics love the later episodes as much as they did the first few. Even if the ratings are low and critics turn negative, however, they may still want to give the show a proper season in hopes people will come around if given more time. The Vampire Diaries is a surefire renewal, as it has ratings, buzz and critical acclaim. Melrose Place is in a similar position to 90210 but with two differences: worse ratings and only 1 season. The CW could say the ratings gave no choice but to cancel but they could also renew, citing strengths (as they usually do) by spinning some of the numbers. And like with 90210, giving up too soon would be a sign of a defeat, that their grand plan–especially after Heather Locklear’s involvement–didn’t work out. Some question whether Smallville and Supernatural will get renewals since they’ve been on for quite some time already, but the network has remained positive about both shows and their futures. In two interviews, both less than a week old, Dawn Ostroff maintains she’s very pleased with Smallville this year but the exact future remains to be seen. She made similar comments about Supernatural.

The network technically has 10 spots to fill: two shows per night, Monday-Friday. Renewing all the shows mentioned above, plus America’s Next Top Model, makes 9. Most networks want to bring in more than one pilot. If The CW feels that way, they’ll either have to give a show–either new or old–a limited season or they’ll have to cancel one (if not more) of their current shows.

Fans, bloggers and critics will spend the next several months speculating on which shows will get renewed. There might be stronger indications as time goes by as well as some early announcements, but sometimes a decision in the bottom of the ninth, so to speak, can change everything (as it did with The CW and 7th Heaven/Everwood in 2006). Nothing is 100 percent official until the upfront in May, when the network presents its new schedule to advertisers.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m hedging my bets so I’m not wrong. I truly won’t be surprised if any of the teen dramas are renewed or canceled. I wish I could give you a better indication of what will be. The truth is, if you told me Gossip Girl was canceled for the reasons I listed above, I’d say it makes perfect sense. Likewise, if you told me it was renewed for the reasons I listed above, that would make perfect sense to me, too. The same goes for One Tree Hill and 90210. These are the things countless executives at the network will be going back and forth on for the next few months. They’re also privy to information we’re not–such as the exact costs of making each show, the profits they’re making and the quality of the pilot options as well as the quality of the plans the current crews have pitched to them for next season.

In the meantime, if you want a show to get renewed, I encourage you to watch it when it airs–not online and not via DVR. You can also contact The CW via its Web site to let them know what you want to see next season. Many times a strong fan campaign has made all the difference.

Hang in there. We’ve still got a ways to go.





TDW Look Back, Pt. 3

1 01 2010

Part 1, Part 2

ORIGINAL POSTS: Exclusive: Executive Producer Charles Rosin Reflects on 90210’s Early Years (10/4/09) and Exclusive: Executive Producer Paul Stupin Revisits Dawson’s Creek (11/15/09)

WHY I LOVE THEM: When I first started this site, I never dreamed I’d be interviewing anybody, much less the creators of the teen drama genre. (And major props go to Michael Cudlitz for being the first to agree to an interview!) These are the people that came up with the characters, cast the stars, generated the storylines. Sure, there’s also writers, story editors, casting agents. But these “showrunners,” as they’re called, shape the vision, connect the dots and generally turn a bunch of small parts into the large thing we’ve come to know and  love as teen dramas. There’s no greater treat than to hear about the decisions from the decision-makers themselves.

WHERE I’LL GO FROM HERE: Well, I’d like to fill in the holes. That means, Josh Schwartz (The O.C., Gossip Girl), Mark Schwahn (One Tree Hill) and Rebecca Sinclair (90210), step right up because I’m ready and willing to interview ya. And while I’ve already interviewed a number of others, the pool of teen drama role players is seemingly infinite. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing most of the current main stars in person when I interned at PEOPLE in ’08 but I hope to one day be able to do it again explicitly for TDW. And, of course, all the stars of yesteryear, too.





Spoiler: Ask Ausiello

5 11 2009

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

Question: Any word on how Navid reacts to Adrianna’s bisexuality on 90210? —David
Ausiello:
He reacts like you’d expect an ex-boyfriend to react: like a big ol’ ass. “Navid is a little freaked out about it,” says exec producer Rebecca Sinclair. “He’s like, ‘Whoa, what did I do? I just turned my girlfriend gay! What does this say about me!’”

Question: Hey! Got any scoop about my favorite sophomore drama, 90210? —Sarah
Ausiello:
Hey! I do. There’s a catfight coming up between Naomi and another female character that will put Alexis and Krystle’s legendary lily pond brawl to… okay, it’s not as good as that one, but it’s still pretty damn memorable.

Credit: EW.com

***

Would just like to point out that Joey (Dawson’s Creek) already had Navid’s reaction.  And here we thought this storyline would be different from past shows…








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