Just over two weeks ahead of its July 8 premiere, HBO Max's Gossip Girl is getting high-level press. Vulture's Hunter Harris went behind the scenes on the eagerly-anticipated production and spilled details about all the luxe inspiration and evolution. XOXO!
Gossip Girl opens as middle-class teen Zoya (Whitney Peak) joins the Upper East Side and shakes up its cliques, run by her half-sister Julien (Jordan Alexander). Threesomes, schemes, and fights ensue.
Executive producer Joshua Safran analogized Gossip Girl and Succession; in both shows, the characters are know just how rich they are and throw around their wealth. He shared that he thinks about the show 20 hours a day and masterminds each chic detail.
I have, like, cocaine for blood. I don’t do cocaine because I’m afraid it’s going to neutralize me.
Meanwhile, the new Gossip Girl is a "continuation" of the original hit. Today's teens are politically engaged and conscious of their privilege; while Kristen Bell still voices the narrator, she's calling out people on Instagram instead of a blog.
Safran worked hard to make this Gossip Girl more authentic in location, time, and flavor. Casting director Cassandra Kulukundis said of longtime pal Safran:
He was like, ‘I need to elevate this.' He had so many lofty ideas, and he has such high-end taste. He’s like, ‘I don’t want people thinking it’s going to be this teen soap opera. I really want to make it the HBO way.’
Safran shared that Gossip Girl 1.0 "was a little soapier, a little twistier." He added:
It wasn’t camp, it wasn’t not-camp, but it also wasn’t camp on purpose. It was a descendant of Dynasty and all of those shows. The girls pushed each other in a fountain, someone pushed someone into the Seine. This version is more like a comedy of manners.