The new Gossip Girl is going to be very different, and very 2019.
Josh Schwartz was on hand at the 2019 TV Critics Association summer press tour to promote Hulu’s Looking For Alaska, and after the panel, he spoke to reporters about the reboot/remake/re-something of the iconic CW series about a group of rich kids being stalked by a mysterious entity called Gossip Girl, which is coming to HBO Max. 10 episodes have been ordered so far.
Schwartz doesn’t actually know which “re” word to use, since it won’t feature the same cast or characters, but it will be set in the same world as the original Gossip Girl, where Serena, Blair, etc all do exist, just elsewhere.
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One big change this time is that you won’t have to wait the whole series to find out who Gossip Girl is, because now, Gossip Girl is all of us.
“We felt like a version that was just our cast grown up…it didn’t really feel like a group of adults who were being controlled by Gossip Girl would make a lot of sense, so it felt like there was something really interesting about this idea that we are all Gossip Girl now, in our own way, that we are all purveyors of our own social media surveillance state, and how that’s evolved, and how that has morphed and mutated and telling that story through a new generation of upper east side high school kids felt like the right time.”
So, we asked just to make sure, is there still the mystery of who is Gossip Girl?
“No,” Schwartz said.
The original characters of the 2007 series won’t be a part of the show unless the actors want to be a part of the show.
“I mean, if they want to be involved in some way, we reached out to all of them to let them know it was happening and that we would love for them to be involved if they want to be involved, but we certainly didn’t want to make it contingent upon them,” Schwartz said. “And you know, they played those characters for six years and if they felt like they’re good with that, we wanted to respect that but obviously any time anybody wants…it’d be great to see them again.”
Schwartz says it was Warner Bros who brought up the idea of the new show, and there were several options for a home before HBO Max (the new Warner streaming service, where Friends will eventually be heading) came about.
Schwartz says he and co-EP Stephanie Savage sat down with Josh Safran, who was “such a great voice of the show” and eventually became an EP, and “he had a really great take and a really great idea, and that made it feel like this was the moment.”
Other ideas had come up before, but it was Safran’s take that really convinced Schwartz and co. that it was time.
“When we heard Safran’s take, it was so fun, and knowing he would be the one writing it and he would be able to deliver a great job…he definitely wanted to subvert the original paradigm.”
So the show is a bit of a subversion of the original show, in the same world as the original show, but do not expect the new Upper East Siders to be the kids of the original characters.
“We ain’t that old,” Schwartz said. “Jesus!”