Part of the fun of a set visit in Hollywood is the sense of dislocation, being able to sit next to the gazebo from Gilmore Girls talking to one of the stars of FOX’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles about The CW’s 90210.
The Terminator star in question is Brian Austin Green, we’re half a block down from John Connor’s former residence on a rural street on the Warner Brothers lot and the topic of 90210 is completely organic.
Green joined the cast of the FOX drama last season, playing Derek Reese, future robot fighter and uncle to Thomas Dekker’s John, humanity’s eventual savior. Derek’s introduction produced a major deviation in Terminator mythology and instantly concerned Green, a fan of the franchise.
"I was terrified," Green admits. "I was really scared. Originally it was only supposed to be six episodes for the character and I knew going into it that fans of the show and the franchise were going to have hard time knowing that I was going to be playing the character that I was playing. I had the chance of either succeeding and doing well or failing miserably and letting down a bunch of people who love the franchise as much as I do. It was a lot of pressure, a lot of stress."
But fans of the series welcomed Derek into the Terminator universe and helped turn a six-episode guest spot into a regular role for Green.
"It’s because of the fans that I’m still on the show and as far as I’m concerned it’s great and I appreciate everything that they say," Green acknowledges. "I’ll go onto sites sometimes and see what they’re saying, what their concerns are and things that they like and don’t like and I keep them in mind because ultimately that’s who we’re making the show for."
Of course, that doesn’t mean Green is immune to occasional wariness at the attention-to-detail of some obsessive fans.
"They get a little nitpicky," he laughs. "They start going ‘You know, I really didn’t like his hair in the last episode. It was kind of down to the side and it reminded me of my dad’s hair,’ and it’s like ‘Really? It’s the Terminator show and you didn’t like my hair in the scene? It was too much like your dad’s? That’s what you’re worried about? How’d you like the show?’ But there’s nothing you can do about that."
This leads quite naturally to the question of how this sci-fi fanbase is different from the throngs who watched Beverly Hills 90210.
"It’s a completely different audience," Green says. "There’s no comparison at all. Being on the show was much like being one of the Jonas Brothers. You make the show for the young girls who are looking for good-looking guys on television and whether you are or not, you just kind of jump in and fit the mold and wear what they tell you to wear and that’s really what the focus becomes. With this, I love the fact that I have two pairs of pants and two different shirts that I circulate through and one jacket."
Green didn’t watch the two-hour premiere of The CW’s new 90210, but says he hopes to watch future episodes, laughing at the notion that the show could possibly make any choices for an off-screen David Silver that he’d disapprove of.
"I don’t know if you could possibly screw it up more than it was screwed with over 10 years," he says of Silver’s backstory, which included drug addition, Babyface and years of sexual frustration with Donna.
While more than a few actors have shied away from youthful entries on their resumes, however possible, Green doesn’t hesitate.
"I don’t have any sort of ill feelings toward the show," he says. "It was a great 10 years of my life. There were great sides to it and then obviously there were really tough sides to it also, as far as moving on from it. But it’s what it is and I wouldn’t change it."
Of the new show, he adds, "[I]t’s a new start. It’s a new show. The audience that’s watching the new one, a lot of them were too young to watch ours, so it’s a new cast and a new take on it."
So what would it take to get Green to do a cameo on 90210?
"I don’t know. Time, I think, ultimately. If I had the time, I think I’d do it."
Green, after all, is enjoying is current gig.
"I love it," he says. "I grew up loving action films. I grew up loving Terminator. I play video games. The ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ episode from last season was the closest thing I could have experienced to playing Gears of War on the 360. It was unbelievable, a great experience."