" as Naomi's crazy big sister, Jen.
Back in Beverly Hills after a stint in Europe, the 20-something is shaking things up a bit, dating Ryan Matthews and walking all over a couple of the show's characters.
Oh, also, she's got history with someone besides little Ethan (whom she clearly took advantage of back in the day). Someone we know super well.
So, yeah, Sara jumped on the phone a few days ago and caught me up on some of what's to come. It was a good talk…
Last Tuesday's episode, during which your character debuted, was fun. It's good to have new blood on the show.
SF: I think new blood is fun, sure. I think, once audience members are
used to the familiar faces, it might take a bit of time to warm up to the new girl though. Especially being that this girl is
way over-the-top at first. More so than you’ll see her in the next few [hours]. She
becomes a little more human. Not exactly a nice human, but…
But you're toning her down.
SF: Because you have to. [Being over-the-top], it’s fun for one episode, but I had to start
going, how is this person going to relate to everybody else? How is she
going to be believable in a relationship with Ryan? How is she going to
be believable in situations with the other girls, you know?
The character is evolving? Already?
SF: Yeah, the way that we first talked about her in the
auditioning process, she was big. And you know how you
see some of these actresses — who shall remain nameless — that go off to
Europe for a few months and all of a sudden they’re talking with a
British accent? You know what I mean? It's like, you’re from Calabasas. A British
accent? Really? …So in the beginning, I was kind of like, wouldn’t it be great
if there were like little hints of a British accent? It’s just
silly, these women who do that. So I thought it would be fun to throw that in, but the
truth is, you can’t stay really consistent with it.
SF: Well, it’s funny that you’re not going to see it again! It’s like,
wait a minute, didn't she…? Television is so different. I’ve never done television.
I’m so used to the process of rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing. I love to rehearse. But obviously, in television, it’s
wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am. You show up and there’s not as much time to
really develop who the character is, especially if it’s a new character.
Right, I mean, the character has to develop on screen, really.
SF: Well, yeah,
and you’ll see as the episodes progress, oh my God, there are things
that this girl does, I don’t know how she sleeps at night.
It's bad, huh?
Well, I think the thing is, Naomi is the bad girl of the show and it’s
hard to top Naomi in terms of the things that come out of her mouth, but her
sister certainly does.
Will Naomi continue to worship Jen or will we see a change in their relationship?
SF: Their relationship definitely shifts. Jen comes in at first and she is the only person in
the world that can hit that nerve with Naomi. [Without her sister around], Naomi [thinks she is] the most
beautiful, the most outgoing… though I have noticed that her
relationship with this Liam character has her on her toes… which, well, I have an interesting situation with him too.
Ha. Of course.
SF: Yeah. But
you’ll definitely see the dynamic shift. Naomi’s in awe of her sister. Jen is everything that she wants to be — I don’t
know why — but this is the one person who puts Naomi in her place. And
it’s not an act. Jen definitely looks at Naomi like she’s a sweet
little girl. She’s not threatened by Naomi, Naomi is a child to her. But you’ll see a shift where Jen gets put in her place a little bit, which is totally unexpected.
You mentioned her upcoming relationship with Ryan. Is she going to be bad news for him?
SF: I think that this girl has no idea
what she wants. I think that men are toys to her. I don’t think that
she has any desire to find herself in a permanent situation. Ryan’s
cute, they have a couple of dates, but I think that’s pretty
much the extent of it. But who knows, you never know. She could be dead
tomorrow. That’s the thing with TV.
Well, yeah, speaking of, Dustin Milligan is leaving the show soon. Will we get more back story on Jen taking his virginity before he goes?
SF: I think the way they [shot that reveal], in slow motion and kind
of dramatic, [indicates] that there is going to be some sort
of something. But please. That happened years ago. She was his first.
I think Jen
was probably 17 or 18 and he was probably — I don’t
think they’ve decided the exact age situation for me — but that whole thing is definitely in the past.
Will Jen be interacting with any of the veteran characters? Did you have any scenes with Jennie Garth or Tori Spelling?
SF: Yes, she has a really interesting
relationship with Kelly, actually. I don’t want to give too much away,
because there’s a real shocker between her and Kelly in one of the
upcoming episodes, where you see that they actually have history. They
Oh, nice! Love that. Where you a fan of the original series?
SF: I've seen every episode. Any time you’re
stepping on the set of something that’s already established, it’s scary.
It’s like the first day of school, you know? But the most nervous I was in the
whole entire couple of months was meeting Jennie. I was like, it’s
Kelly Taylor! I mean, I’ve seen every episode.
Me too. I can't imagine, it's got to be a surreal experience for you.
SF: Yeah. And what’s so interesting is, do the kids today — I mean, I'm 28 now — watch this show with the absolute admiration that we
watched? I hung on to every last word. You know, in fifth grade, my girlfriends and I, one of us was Kelly, one was Donna, one was Brenda.
These were the games we played in school. If you had told me when I was 13-years-old, when I was sitting there watching the show, that one day I would be on the new version? In 2009? Please.
Do you think the audience is going to love to hate Jen?
SF: I think that’s the biggest challenge for these
type of characters that are so over-the-top, with
no morals, and you can’t really figure out what their intentions are,
if they have a heart. I think the biggest challenge is getting
people to love you anyway. I don’t know what the recipe is for
building that kind of character in to a place where people want to see
more. So, yeah, I don’t know. I think that she’s fun, and she wears cool
clothes and she’s a cool chick. And at the end of the day, she’s just
out for herself. It’s definitely a different dynamic. She takes you out
of the high school scene and enters into a whole new world, more
of the L.A. lifestyle. She’s obviously out of school and in the
real world now, so they can
start exploring a lot of that with her.
Yeah, maybe you can do a "Melrose Place" cameo if that pilot gets picked up.
SF: Oh, I’m not even thinking of that. I mean,
listen, that’s the thing, the options are endless, you know? Who knows where they will take it or not take it.
But we know for sure that you're around for the rest of the season at least, right?
What about next year?
SF: I think it’s totally open-ended. I mean, you’ll
see Naomi and Jen find themselves in a situation where Jen could be
around for a long time… or not.