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Eighteen years old at the time, she had just appeared in a small independent film and come to a crushing conclusion: “I realized that [acting] was a business as much as a craft,” she told me more than a decade after the fact, while on the West Coast, where her husband, Ryan Reynolds, was about to start shooting a prime-time soap opera about beautiful, articulate, sun-kissed teenagers living in Orange County, was wrapping up its four-year run.
The show had arrived on the scene with a tidal wave of buzz, its actors almost immediately splashed on magazine covers and pushed out onto red carpets; but after burning through plot at a rapid pace (its leading lady, Mischa Barton, saw her character get killed off somewhat unceremoniously in the third season), the show sputtered to a close, ending with a truncated final season.
The official green light was a mere formality: Schwartz and Savage were off to the races.
There were two core figures at the center of the books—Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen—and casting them was at the top of Schwartz and Savage’s agenda.
And it was even more difficult for us, because we were going after a younger, more finicky audience.”It was a perfect storm: a buzzy property, a hot creative team, and a new network.
A decade ago this fall, just as social media was fracturing pop culture into a million pieces, a pair of sophomore show-runners, a start-up network, and a cast of barely of-age millennials aligned to capture one last old-fashioned teenage zeitgeist.
On the tenth anniversary of the CW’s flagship series, A decade ago this fall, just as social media was fracturing pop culture into a million pieces, a pair of sophomore show-runners, a start-up network, and a cast of barely of-age millennials aligned to capture one last old-fashioned teenage zeitgeist.
Ostroff recalled that, about seven or eight years ago, she had a meeting with Chinese executives, who told her that the most illegally streamed show in China was not During the filming of the pilot in 2007—the cast now assembled in New York—Schwartz and Savage felt confident they had magic on their hands.
In addition to Lively as Serena, they had cast relative unknowns Leighton Meester, Crawford, Penn Badgley, and Ed Westwick as Blair, Nate, Dan, and Chuck, respectively.