Developed by showrunner Joshua Safran, a author and government producer on the unique sequence, the brand new HBO Max iteration of Gossip Woman returns to the Higher East Aspect and the elite Constance Billard Faculty for Ladies and St. Jude’s Faculty for Boys, with a brand new group of privileged, wealthy and exquisite college students. There, new lady Zoya (Whitney Peak) tries to search out the place she suits amongst new pals and new romance, all whereas trying to keep away from the wrath of the reawakened Gossip Woman and her depraved methods.
Throughout this digital 1-on-1 interview with Collider, which you’ll each watch and skim, Peak (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Dwelling Earlier than Darkish) talked about how she has sometimes feels about reboots, her impression of the unique sequence, why she questioned in the event that they’d ever even get to movie the present, the dynamic between Zoya and Julien (Jordan Alexander), why she needed her character to be messy, what Zoya thinks of Gossip Woman, Easter eggs, and that viewers aren’t ready for what’s to return.
[Editor's note: The following contains spoilers for the first episode of Gossip Girl,.]
Collider: I’m excited to lastly get launched to those characters and see what the present is all about. I really feel like I didn’t know something earlier than I watched it, which I believe is basically cool.
WHITNEY PEAK: I do know. You learn tweets and messages and issues, and also you see the ideas of individuals in anticipation of the present popping out, and it’s simply weird how unsuitable a few of the guesses are. I’m simply sitting again and ready for everyone to unravel for the general public.
When the chance to do that and to be part of this reboot grew to become a risk for you, what was your response? Since you might be any individual who had already seen and have been a fan of the unique sequence, did that make you extra excited or extra nervous about pursuing a task on the present?
PEAK: I don’t assume I felt any specific approach about it. I wasn’t certain they’d even give me an opportunity as a result of I used to be 16 on the time, and clearly Gossip Woman is just not precisely probably the most PG-13 TV sequence on the market. And now, with it being on HBO Max, it’s clearly a bit of bit extra risque and express. It’s not watered down as a result of it’s on a TV community. It may be a bit of extra elevated. So, I used to be undoubtedly in disbelief that they even let me audition. After which, after I obtained it, I used to be like, “Oh, my god, that is loopy!” However then, I spotted I used to be enjoying a 14-year-old, so there was a bit of bit extra room to get round that.
Since you had watched the unique sequence after it first aired, what was it that made you initially determine to look at it? Was it simply that you simply had heard about it and needed to test it out?
PEAK: I undoubtedly heard about it rising up. I really feel like perhaps my sisters watched it. I don’t assume they ever talked about it actually, nevertheless it’s simply been round. Folks would reference it, and there have been Blair memes in all places. I’d by no means been conscious of it. I used to be watching Fairly Little Liars on the similar, however then I outgrew it. It obtained a bit of bit darkish and it grew to become demanding for me to look at it as a result of it was so thrillery. I used to be pondering, “What else can I watch that’s a bit of senseless and stress-free and calm? Oh, lemme simply watch all of those wealthy individuals getting mad at one another.” And it was superior. It was the proper escape and a very good distraction, and I’m grateful for that.
How do you personally usually really feel about reboots, remakes, and reimaginings? Is it one thing that you end up fascinated by, or do you usually shrink back from watching them?
PEAK: I’m normally the primary to shrink back, truthfully. I hate to confess it, however I’m that particular person. So, after I came upon they have been doing a reboot, I used to be like, “What? What do you imply, they’re doing a reboot? Is the unique solid coming again? What’s gonna occur with this?” After which, I came upon what the premise was and I used to be like, “Okay, now I get it,” and I felt actually foolish for being so fast to close it down. I’m normally the primary particular person to show a blind eye to a reboot, however give it an opportunity. More often than not, it’s not likely a reboot or a remake. This one is a continuation. It’s simply 10 years later and a special world.
What was your audition course of like for this? Whenever you left the audition otherwise you had that first assembly, was it one thing that you simply had a superb feeling about? Had been you satisfied you’d by no means get it? Are you somebody who tries to not take into consideration audition after you do them?
PEAK: Right here’s the factor, I by no means truly learn within the room for it. I despatched in a tape, after which disappeared to Uganda. My sister was getting married, so me and my household went again residence and spent a stunning month there, simply getting enveloped in tradition and seeing my household once more, for the primary time in 5 or 6 years. It was unimaginable. After which, I got here again and obtained the information and I used to be in disbelief, in fact, but additionally a bit of bit skeptical as a result of I hadn’t completed a callback. I hadn’t learn within the room for it. I used to be nervous that they wouldn’t actually like me, as soon as I obtained on set, or that one thing would go unsuitable. After which, in fact, COVID occurred and I used to be pondering, “Okay, nicely, that is completed. That is what occurred. Good understanding you guys. Actually nice assembly you.” However then, lower to seven months later, we have been in New York and dealing on it. It was superior. So, it was a fast and simple course of for me.
You didn’t must be tortured over whether or not or not you’ll get it for too lengthy.
PEAK: Sure. I simply needed to be tortured on whether or not or not it was occurring, which was most likely virtually worse. I’m glad these days are behind me proper now.
You’ve beforehand stated that once you booked this present, you realized that appearing was one thing that you would doubtlessly do for the remainder of your life. Now that you simply’ve been doing the present, has it confirmed that for you much more?
PEAK: Completely. I really feel like each single day on set, I take pleasure in it extra. With studying the scripts and now being on the present and seeing how all the things works and being actually concerned behind the scenes, I simply crave it extra now. It’s an habit. I simply wanna do extra. I wanna push myself and problem myself to step extra outdoors of the field and play characters which might be removed from myself. I’ve obtained the bug, for certain.
What are you able to say to tease the story arc for the primary season? What do you assume are the most important methods the viewers of the present can be stunned by the story you’re telling?
PEAK: I believe that the viewers is basically gonna take pleasure in attending to peek into the inside workings of Gossip Woman and the trials and tribulations of being this massive sister wanting over the shoulder vibe. Within the authentic, it was very one-dimensional. She was simply this character that may weblog, and it performed with who she was and her identification. Now, within the first episode, the viewers is in on one thing that the characters aren’t, which I believe was such a cool strategy to flip the script a bit of bit. It makes the viewers really feel part of all of it, in that they know one thing that we don’t know. I don’t know if I’m giving an excessive amount of away, however I do know that I’m allowed to say that there’s a whole lot of occasions and there’s a whole lot of trend. There’s actually a trend present within the first episode. There’s a black tie gala within the second. They’re in for a trip. Each single episode has drama, drama, drama.
As a result of there are two feminine characters on the middle of this story, individuals are going to search for comparisons to Serena and Blair, nevertheless it looks like your character is way more the Dan of the story, at the very least initially. Is that the way you see it too?
PEAK: I did see it like that originally as a result of the script that I auditioned with was very that – the brand new lady who didn’t actually just like the elitism of the world that she was in. So, I undoubtedly did assume that. However now, with me and Jordan [Alexander]’s characters being half-sisters, there’s clearly gonna be that comparability. I believe the viewers is gonna anticipate it to be very a lot me versus her, or her versus me, nevertheless it’s not like that in any respect. We truly need to be sisters, need to be that household, and need to have that connection as a result of they’re nonetheless so younger and have to beat these obstacles, so as to get there on the finish of the day. Me and Jordan have had limitless conversations about this as a result of we all know what the preliminary response can be, when two ladies are put up collectively. It at all times needs to be me versus you. We’re very safe in the truth that me and Jordan are conscious sufficient of ourselves to beat that.
These are two ladies from very totally different worlds and so they’re nonetheless attending to know one another, on the similar time the viewers is attending to know them, so what are you having fun with about attending to discover that sister dynamic, because it grows increasingly more?
PEAK: I even have two sisters again residence in Vancouver and I miss them very, very a lot. Jordan has been an extension of an enormous sister to me in actual life, in order that’s very easy to faucet into. All of my sisters are older, and Jordan is older too, however Julien is simply a pair years older than Zoya. It’s attention-grabbing going to highschool together with your sister, but additionally having this separation, in that you simply didn’t know one another for nevertheless lengthy. They’re sisters, in order that they’re holding onto this factor with household and their blood. There’s only a connection there and so they’re attempting to discover that. Seeing how actually deep it’s, or how deep it may be and the way far it could actually go, might be probably the most thrilling half for me. It’s gonna go up and down, I simply can’t wait to see the place it finally ends up.
Zoya’s residence life may be very totally different from these different youngsters. Do you additionally take pleasure in attending to discover that duality in her life, and attending to have this very totally different life at college that she’s residing with these folks that she’s pals with now, after which going residence to a really totally different residence life?
PEAK: Yeah. She and her dad, proper now, are staying in her grandmother’s hire managed residence. It’s on the Higher West Aspect and she or he’s residing this decrease center class life, however can also be getting ready to truly not having a house. It’s attention-grabbing. The place is sweet, nevertheless it’s not fancy, so when she does go to those excessive environments, certain she’s impressed by the decorum of all of it, however on the finish of the day, she’s not gonna bash her residence life, or at the very least not but, simply because she’s uncovered to this larger than thou life-style. However her father can also be a lawyer and he’s the ethical compass of the present. He’s like, “That is the legislation and also you have to be doing this.” They’ve a very nice relationship, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly nonetheless father and daughter, whereas Julien and Davis have extra of a pal relationship.
How does Zoya really feel about Gossip Woman? Does she care about discovering out who Gossip Woman is? What’s that like for her to take care of?
PEAK: Zoya is any individual who values the nicely being of her family and friends and folks that she loves. I don’t assume she actually cares about it, by way of herself. Apart from the exception of giant dramatic occasions which have occurred to her, if it was bashing her simply with rumors, she wouldn’t actually care about it. However when it’s about her household and her pals, that’s when she will get riled up and actually needs to search out out and resolve it. It will get actually actual when it’s messing with the folks that she loves and who she needs to be comfortable and okay.
Have you ever completed filming the sequence now?
PEAK: No. We end, I believe, in early September. I imagine we’re completed within the first week of September.
So, you don’t know precisely the place issues will find yourself?
PEAK: Precisely. We’re filming the ninth episode proper now (this interview was completed on June twenty seventh), and that’s about as a lot as I do know. We’ve got a basic concept. (Creator) Josh [Safran] will throw us some hints, right here and there, for the place it’s gonna go, however you by no means actually get the complete image till you’re filming the episode.
What’s your relationship like, with Josh Safran? How collaborative does it get? Do you give enter in your character? How a lot do you get instructed about issues?
PEAK: I’ve nothing dangerous to say about Josh and dealing with him. He’s at all times receptive to any concepts or any questions and issues that I’ve. He lets me play with the character and add nuances and lets me make her messy. Youngsters aren’t good. Even with somebody as comfy with herself as Zoya is, she’s messy. A whole lot of Black characters and folks of coloration aren’t allowed to be messy on TV. You’re both prim and correct with a strict upbringing, and it’s a must to follow the script and be good, and go to post-secondary and graduate and do all of these things, or in case you’re even remotely messy otherwise you wanna exit with somebody with a messy vibe, then you definitely’re put on this class of being too ‘hood. I’m so critical. It’s the tropes.
Otherwise you’re the background character and there simply isn’t sufficient time to discover your storyline.
PEAK: Precisely, and also you don’t get an arc. It’s actually irritating to see that within the trade. In fact, I very a lot acknowledge my privilege in being an individual of coloration, but additionally a combined particular person of coloration. I’m attempting to be very a lot conscious of that whereas additionally making it acceptable for individuals of coloration to be messy on TV as a result of it’s actual. We don’t have our hair snatched on a regular basis and we’ve got a foul hair day. We’re allowed to be messy, and exit in sweatpants and a messy bun not be ratchet. I believe it’s actually, actually superior that he lets us play with that. We will fall asleep in do-rags and headscarves, at any time when we have to. We’re gonna attempt to hold pushing that line additional. The complete crew has been unimaginable to work with, so I’m very grateful for that.
And youngsters are particularly messy.
PEAK: Yeah, completely.
You talked about the style. Vogue was an enormous a part of the unique sequence and it looks like it’s additionally a defining attribute of this sequence. How do you’re feeling about Zoya’s particular wardrobe, from how she kinds her college uniform to what she wears in on a regular basis life to when she attire up? Do you’re feeling like there’s one strategy to describe her model, or is it extra of a mixture of issues?
PEAK: I believe she sees herself extra within the arts – in books and performs and music and work or artwork. She doesn’t a lot specific herself in her clothes. She simply goes for no matter’s comfy, which I’m studying as I proceed. At first, I used to be pondering, “Oh, she’s cool. She’s carrying avenue garments. She’s very into model.” However the extra I find out about her, she connects extra with the humanities than she does with outer expression. She simply wears no matter is comfy and no matter feels good on her that day. She’s not likely trying to impress anyone. She simply needs to really feel good.
Fairly early on, there’s additionally some rigidity between these sisters over a man. In relation to Obie, how do you’re feeling about their relationship? Is it a state of affairs the place you are worried that she shouldn’t even be wanting in that course, or is it honest recreation as a result of he and her sister are so totally different?
PEAK: I believe that’s a really, very robust query to reply. It’s clearly very, very subjective. Issues undoubtedly really feel extra heightened once you’re younger and that is her first actual intimate interplay with any individual who occurs to have additionally fallen for her sister. It’s most likely a bit of bit uncomfortable, however because the episodes go on, there’s this mutual consciousness of how over it’s, from Obie’s perspective. It was a bit of it bizarre as a result of in my head, I used to be pondering, “Wow, he sees one thing shiny and simply goes after it,” as a result of he’s so responsible of his privilege and wealth. In my head, he sees somebody who’s not part of his world and, irrespective of how actual and the way genuine it feels to him, it’s a barrier that he wants for himself, so as to develop. He must be taught from it, after which continues on. I undoubtedly felt a bit of bit bizarre about courting my sister’s boyfriend, nevertheless it occurs in actual life and Julien is fairly chill about it. She’s very nicely conscious that she’s a bit of bit controlling and that the chemistry between them has dispersed.
We be taught fairly shortly that they’re very totally different and that your character has way more in widespread with him.
PEAK: And since that occurs, it helps Julien discover herself. Regardless that it’s to the detriment of Zoya, it wanted to occur to ensure that Julien to develop, and to ensure that them to develop as a household.
This sequence tackles totally different points, together with bullying. Do you want how the present is dealing with that aspect of issues?
PEAK: At first, I used to be a bit of bit annoyed at how shortly a few of them have been scanned over. However once you’re making a forty five minute TV present, with a starting, center and finish, and also you’re following totally different storylines, you’re not gonna get to the nitty gritty of each single difficulty. And so, whereas I believe we do cowl a whole lot of points, you would go on [with them]. You can make a complete season about bullying and highschool trauma, however there’s simply a lot happening, on a regular basis. I perceive it, so I respect that we’re even pertaining to points in any respect, interval. You’ve simply gotta take it for what it’s and skim between the traces.
You’ll be able to at all times come again to sure issues, in future seasons.
PEAK: Precisely. Gossip Woman is at all times concerning the drama, so we’re simply attempting to micro-dose little inklings of recommendation and contact on points and essential issues whereas additionally saying true to the Gossip Woman nature and the oblivion of the wealthy.
As somebody who’s a fan of the unique sequence, do you get excited concerning the little connections that pop up between the unique and this one? Do they get identified to you forward of time, or do you simply get to stumble throughout them once you learn every script?
PEAK: I stumble throughout them. Oh, my goodness, I can not await the fourth episode to return out as a result of there’s a enormous reference to the previous present that I believe all people’s gonna love. I’m excited to see what all people thinks about that. I’m not likely on Twitter, however I can be on Twitter for that. There are undoubtedly little dosages and little Easter eggs for the eagle-eyed Gossip Woman followers on the market.
Do you’re feeling such as you’re ready for all the things this present goes to carry for you? Do you could have an actual grasp on that?
PEAK: No. I’m not prepared for it. I don’t assume it’s one thing that you may put together for. Actually, I believe I’m avoiding feeling something about it. I’m any individual who actually, actually values my privateness and my private house and the relationships with individuals which might be near me. The concern and the anticipation of dropping a tiny chunk of my anonymity, occupied with that an excessive amount of would most likely ship me over the sting. So, we’re gonna take it step-by-step and see the place it goes.
I’m excited to see the place the present goes. There are some enjoyable characters and storylines and little twists that you simply’re doing, however I’m additionally afraid as a result of there’s no approach these characters are popping out of this unscathed.
PEAK: I actually don’t assume anyone’s prepared. No person is prepared. You might assume that you’re, however there’s so much happening.
Gossip Woman is accessible to stream at HBO Max.
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