‘Gossip Girl’: Dirty Pretty Things

Why the beautiful cast of TV’s most sexily subversive display might be the last people in America living the fabulous life


Blake Lively, left, and also Leighton Meester of 'Gossip Girl' filming in New York City on March 18th, 2008.

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Honestly, every inter­see, someone asks me, ‘Are you really friends via Blake?’ ” Leighton Meester states. It’s a frigid afternoon in New York, and also the 22-year-old Meester, that plays Gossip Girl‘s headband-loving expect girl, Blair Wal­dorf, is sitting in a booth at La Bottega, an Italian res­taurant near Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. She’s dressed in a gray sweater and jeans and also is wearing a pair of chunky babsence librarian glasses that would sucount be mocked by the uptvery own snob she portrays on the present.

“No, of course you’re not friends with Blake,” claims Blake Lively, that is snuggled up to Meester’s left. An en­ergetic whirl of blond hair dressed in a soft blue sweater, the 22-year-old Lively plays Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf’s best friend and the poor girl gone good(ish) that serves as Gossip Girl‘s wobbly moral compass.

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“We’re very cshed. We’re friends,” Meester states, rolling her eyes. “I can’t even remember a factor why world would say we’re not.”

But come on, this is America. Everyone knows that when a female-hefty televi­sion present becomes a success, the rum­blings that the stars hate each other’s guts should start. Grey’s Anatomy? Those woguys chase one one more around the op­erating table through chest saws. Desperate Housewives? Poison one another’s Botox. Sex and also the City? Regularly clubbed one an additional via Hitachi Magic Wands.

Isn’t it simply old-fashioned sexism? Gos­sip Girl‘s high-cheekboned trio of male actors – Penn Badgley, 22, Chace Craw­ford, 23, andEd Westwick, 21 – have be­come heartthrobby sensations themselves yet have actually mainly sidestepped the gossip at­tacks. (Except for the predictable rumors that they’re all gay.)

“Of course,” Lively states. “You never before hear that Ed and also Penn are jealous of each other, also though they are complete frenemists.” She laughs at her freshly coined word. “Actors have the right to be simply as competitive as girls.” “

Their hair,” Meester claims. “The guys are all about their hair.”

“Eyebrows, also,” states Lively, waving a fork. “And they pout their lips.”

“Ugh, I hate it,” says Meester. “I can’t watch when a male does it.”

Still, it’s excellent to be a Gossip Girl. Out­side La Bottega, New York is imploding, gutted by a financial catastrophe of its very own doing. Day traders are currently carrying piz­zas, andreal-life Upper East Side social­ites are brown-bagging it out of Hermès, as well embarrassed to be watched deluxe shop­ping. But prefer insects preserved in amber, Gossip Girls occupy a fantasy people where young people don’t blanch at $18 cocktails or $700 Christian Louboutin pumps. It’s the spring of 2007, running on repeat – New York remains a boundmuch less, optimis­tic location, in which the Dow is topping 13,000, Bernie Madoffs collecting cli­ents and the velvet-rope VIP party never stopped. Right now, you’d rather be Blake Lively or Leighton Meester than the head of Goldguy Sachs.

Not that they haven’t felt an occasional pinch. “I was in Barneys for a shoe sale,” Lively says. “And tright here was this pair of boots I’d wanted for a lengthy time that were really cheap, and also there was another pair in a various color, and this woman says, ‘You shouldn’t dare buy a second pair of boots in an economic climate favor this. You need to be ashamed.’ On the other hand, her face looks favor she’s simply gone with a crazy wind tunnel, she’s got on massive rings and also a Her­mès scarf. She looked prefer she’d simply rolled approximately in diamonds and gold. I was like, ‘I can’t think you’re saying this to me."”

For those avoiding the huguy race completely: Gossip Girl, based upon a sharply created teen-book series of the same name by Cecily von Ziegesar, is a one-hour television drama on the CW Netjob-related executive-developed and created by Josh Schwartz and also Steph­anie Savage, who formerly collaborated on another teen soap, The OC. While The OC adhered to sun-kissed wealthy youngsters brood­ing in the California sand also, Gossip Girl is set in a much more volatile hornet’s nest: pri­vate school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Its characters, the majority of from Park Av­enue privilege, attend a pair of fictitious single-sex schools, Constance Billard (for girls) and St. Jude’s (for boys), separated by a leafy courtyard. Lively’s Serena is a former queen bee that mysteriously dis­showed up from campus, just to rerotate and also discover her spiteful ex-finest friend, Blair (Meester), in charge. Tright here are crested-blazer-wearing nice boys (Badgley’s Dan Humphrey), pretty boys (Crawford’s Nate Archibald) and charismatic snakes (Westwick’s Chuck Bass), precocious boy siblings (Jenny Humphrey, played by Tay­lor Momsen, and Eric van der Woodsen, played by Connor Paolo), lusty parental fees, a put-upon Polish mhelp (Zuzanna Szadkowski), a mysterious unviewed narrator (a.k.a. “Gossip Girl”) and…truthtotally, it doesn’t really matter. Gossip Girl may lay on the facility, Wire-thick plotlines, however fans love it for its unapologetic deca­dence: beautiful kids spending lavishly, dressing fabulously, stabbing each other in the ago, romping in limousines, snort­ing coke and boozing choose teenage Peter O’Tooles. Gossip Girl is conspicuous and also nearly subversive in its lack of mor­alizing; tright here are few pucount bador great personalities (“No heroes, no villains” is just one of Schwartz and Savage’s mottoes), no prissy sermons from paleas (the folks tfinish to be even more screwed up than the kids), no After School Special-style tidy resolu­tions. And then, because it’s 2009, every­one goes home and also trashes each other on the Net.

For all the hype about fashion, drugs and sex, it’s technology that truly de­fines Gossip Girl. There have been plenty of shows around the idle rich, and practically as many stylized dramas around adoles­cent angst: Beverly Hills, 90210, My So-Called Life and The OC, to name a few. But while Gossip Girl‘s personalities experience with the very same teenage rituals – heart­break, petty feuds, college-acceptance panic – they perform it via a thumb pressed to a keypad. On the present, “Gossip Girl” is the name of an anonymously written web­site that dishes on the daily scandals at Constance Billard and also St. Jude’s. Its authorship is an excellent mystery. Ev­eryone leaks to Gossip Girl via message message – who’s stepping out on Serena, who can share a half brvarious other, that smoked hash in the courtyard. Gossip Girl adheres to the observer’s paradox of modern teenage life: If it isn’t blogged or texted around, it didn’t take place.

But technology likewise partially defines why Gossip Girl is not a conventional televi­sion hit. An average episode attracts about 3 million Nielsen viewers, roughly a quar­ter of the audience that watches Jennifer Love Hewitt affix via the beyond in Gorganize Whisperer– no one’s concept of a sexy-display. CW executives blame Gossip Girl‘s ratings anemia on an antiquated system that doesn’t account for the millions watching it in teams, virtual or downloading epi­sodes from iTunes, where it frequently sits at Number One. “We’d wake up in the morn­ing and also look at the ratings and say, ‘Wow, that’s pretty low,"” claims Schwartz, a Provi­dence, Rhode Island, native that released The OC as soon as he was just ’26 and oversees Gossip Girl with Savage long-distance from Los Angeles. “But then you’d hear people talk about the present and also you’d think, ‘This is weird.’ The reaction to the display feels a lot bigger than the audience.”

The reality is you’re either in or you’re out with Gossip Girl. If you’re out, you’re out: These beautiful youngsters can also be speaking Mandarin. But if you’re in, you’re crazy in – wearing out your exclamation essential live-blogging episodes, creat­ing syrupy song tributes on YouTube, and wasting hrs ruminating on Chuck and also Blair, and also what if total psychobitch Georgina Sparks returns at the end of this sea­boy and terrorizes Serena. . . . The drama goes on and also on. The mania for Gossip Girl isn’t measurable by ratings – it’s even more like a hypoxic obsession.

No one appreciates this even more than its stars, a lot of of whom moved to New York en masse in the summer of 2007, and also, accord­ing to Lively, “live within a five-block radi­us of one another” in downtvery own Manhat­tan. They have become part of a meta social experiment: beautiful young people living in New York, playing beautiful young civilization living in New York on TV. “Wbelow the present ends and fact begins have the right to be extremely blurry,” admits Schwartz.

“I remember going to the set one day, and also this really massive guy, about six feet 5, comes as much as me, and also I assumed, ‘I don’t remember a character choose that in the manuscript,"” states Jessica Szohr, 24, a previous department-save version from Wisconsin who plays Nate’s on-off hipster girlfrifinish, Vanessa Abrams, on the show. “And he says, ‘I’m your defense guard.’ I’m choose, ‘What?‘ And we turned the edge, and also tbelow were hun­dreds of little girls.”

“I was so shocked by it,” says Lively. “These 12-year-old girls hitting on our cast members. I remember one walked as much as Penn and was like, ‘Hey, you wanna come over to my house later?’ That was before they were in any kind of of these teenager magazines. The men were prefer, ‘What. Is. Happening?’ It was really immediate, a whirlwind.”

Those real-life, breathless New York gossip girls crash the set eexceptionally day Gos­sip Girl films outdoors. They take a trip in giggly packs, pok­ing their heads out from behind camages like meerkats, despeprice for a glimpse of Blair or Serena and the ultimate valida­tion: their own teenage stays, glamorized for TV.

Not that they think about Gossip Girl a lit­eral rendering. “Parents think, ‘Oh, my God, this is what my daughter’s life is like?"” one young private-schooler, Anna, claims at a location shoot off Madikid Avenue one morning. “But no one goes out partying choose that.” One of Anna’s friends puts it better: “No one’s that tall.”

Just a few yards amethod, Meester stands on 73rd Street, in a maroon hat, checkered jacket, red Isabella Adams handbag and also a snappy pair of Pour La Victoire wingguideline heels. The girls whiplash roughly to look.

“That’s not her.”

“That’s the body double.”

“No, that’s her.” A gasp fills the cold air. The Queen B herself. Seen in her curls and also styl­ish couture, Meester looks born to play an Upper East Side socialite-to-be. But her ascension from unknown to Gossip Girl reads like an edgy, improbable fairytale.

“It’s a pretty cool story,” Meester states during an interwatch at lunch. In per­son, she is casual and unpretentious, much even more downtvery own anddroll than the high-strung Blair (“Leighton’s a guy’s girl,” says Crawford. “She can really hang out”). The just map of her privileged character is a heart-shaped ring she wears that belongs to Blair; she keeps it on, she says, because she’s terrified of shedding it.

As a son, Meester had actually suspected tbelow was somepoint inexplicable about her birth. She’d heard stray whispers of conversa­tion from family members over the years, however no one had ever before said anypoint clearly until one day at Meester’s elementary college in the Gulf Coast resort town of Marco Is­land also, Florida.

“We were all talking, and also this girl is prefer, ‘I know something about you,"” Meester re­calls. “So she takes me right into the bathroom, and she states it: ‘You were born in jail."”

“I looked at the girl, and also I literally was prefer, ‘Fuck you!’ ” Meester says, laughing. “I didn’t even know what it supposed. ‘Fuck you!’ The next time I experienced my mommy, I was choose, ‘Was I born in jail?"”

Technically, she was not. Meester’s mom, and her aunt and also grandfa­ther, were arrested as component of a marijuana-smuggling ring in the at an early stage 1980s. Fed­eral prosecutors charged that the team conspired to smuggle 1,200-pound ship­ments of marijuana into the nation from Jamaica. Meester’s father likewise served time for possession. Her mommy, Connie, was sentenced to 10 years at a federal prichild in Texas – at the time, she was pregnant via Leighton.

“She did serve part of her sentence while pregnant via me,” Meester states. But as soon as Connie was ready to provide birth, she was relocated to a halfway home and also delivered Leighton at a hospital in April 1986. After 3 months, Connie returned to priboy, and also Leighton visited live through her grand­mother. Connie would later on be released after serving a full of 16 months.

“It’s interesting stuff that should be in a movie,” Meester says. “And she was, prefer, my age when she was doing it.” Meester and also her mommy remain cshed. “She’s an extremely strong woguy. She had the ability to be there for me, and she shaped me into the person I am. She’s been hocolony via me about everything.

“It renders me not judge people, particularly not for their previous,” Meester continues. “Or their parents’ pasts. A lot of world assume that their paleas don’t have pasts, but I understand a great deal around mine.”

Meester’s paleas, who entered genuine estate after their incarcerations, divorced as soon as she was 6. She shuttled in between living via her mom and her dad, and began acting at a neighborhood playhouse in Marco Island. A break came as soon as Meester was 10, once her mother arranged a visit via a talent agent scouting for modeling and also acting productions in New York. “It’s so weird. If I see a 10-year-old currently, I’m prefer, ‘Baby!‘” Meester claims. “But I guess I was prepared in a weird method.” Soon after, she and also her mother and also two brothers moved to New York.

“We relocated to a location dubbed Park Ter­race,” Meester claims. “We imagined it was going to be elaborate – a park, and also a terrace, you know? But it was really scary. There were dead mice. You’d open up a clocollection and also you’d be afraid there was a body in tright here.”

The Meesters would certainly move to a string of New York apartments, varying from the Upper West Side to downtvery own Manhat­tan to a one-room studio they all mutual in the West Village. (“We didn’t know exactly how lengthy we were going to stay, or what we were going to carry out,” claims Meester.) Connie, by then trying her hand at composing screen­plays, made money waitressing. Even then, Meester was acutely conscious of class differ­ences. “I remember having my friends from institution over to our little apartment, and my mother made it all nice, and also got all this nice food,” Meester claims. One of the girls who came invited Meester to her family’s home in Connecticut. “I go tbelow, and also I’m choose, ‘Oh, my God.’ It was, prefer, a 40-bedroom estate.”

After a brief attempt at parochial ed­ucation (“Me and also Catholic institution did not mix. I had to wear a bra and also loafers – I simply hated it”), Meester enrolled in the Profes­sional Children’s School, which specializes in teaching show-company youngsters, and won parts in commercials and made a brief appearance as a murder victim’s friend on Law & Order.

When Meester was ready for high school, the clan packed up aacquire – this time to L.A., wbelow Leighton attfinished Hollylumber High, and later, Beverly Hills High (When asked wright here she lived, Meester claims, “You understand, the slums”). By now, parts were coming – TV reflects prefer 7th Heaven and also 24. Later, she’d make a horror-movie spoof, Drive Thru, through her future co-star Badgley. “We played stoner friends,” Meester says.

When Meester auditioned for the part of Blair on Gossip Girl in early 2006, the cast­ing directors were unpersuaded. “They sassist I was also type and sweet to play this char­acter,” she states. Tright here was one more prob­lem: Meester was blond. They were like, ‘Be bitchy and nice, ugly and pretty, young and also old, stupid and also smart, innocent and also slutty, blond and also brunette. Can you be all those things?"” she recalls. When the pro­ducers asked her to check out for the component of Ser­ena, she refused.

“Leighton shelp, ‘I am Blair – I know this girl,"” claims Savage.

“Sometimes, no issue exactly how much power you put in to acquire a component, you’re not going to gain it,” says Meester. “But this was mine. It feltchoose mine. So a lot of me was all set to obtain this component and move to New York. I’d passed through any type of bullshit that had actually hap­pened in my life.”

Meester won the role, and while Lively’s Serena got much of the at an early stage hype, Blair Waldorf has emerged as the show’s sharp-edged heart. Huffing roughly in her curls and pumps, Blair is a flurry of privi­leged energy, however Meester has infused her via a vulnercapability that elevates her be­yond the usual TV shrew. Blair takes plea­sure in hazing underclassmales wanna-be’s (her scenes on the college procedures with her skirt-wearing acolytes are some of Gossip Girl‘s best), however behind that steel is a vulnerable young womale that covets the points a lot of girls want: attentive parental fees, a great college and also a boyfriend that retransforms her texts. (Meester’s very own boyfrifinish, actor Se­bastian Stan, has a recurring function on Gos­sip Girl as a troublemaker named Carter Baizen, and also pals around through Crawford and also Westwick.)

Meester appreciates the irony of her playing an Upper East Side princess – it’s a change so Capra-esque, Frank Capra might have turned it dvery own.

“It’s shaped me,” Meester claims of her ago story. “I don’t desire to execute drugs. I don’t desire to need to begin over a million times. I want to have an abundance of great things in my life, and I desire it to spread out evenly – I don’t want it to just come and also go.

“It might come off as very corny, yet I simply feel every day is a blessing,” she proceeds. “I can have actually turned out to be a fully different person. Miracles occur all the time. It might not be your destiny ideal in front of you, yet it can be your children’s destiny, and also that’s just how my mother feels.”

Unchoose Meester, BlakeLively comes from a Burfinancial institution, The golden state, family members through deep roots in show business. Her father, Ernie, is a work­ing actor with the challenge of a cop, who’s been in whatever from the Dukes of Hazzard TV show to Turner & Hooch; her mom, Elaine, manperiods and teaches son ac­tors – and also her 4 siblings all act. Still, Blake withstood the profession. “It would have actually been so evident,” she claims. Her life was hardly glitzy. “Burfinancial institution is a little town in a large city,” she says. “I was never friends through young celebrities or celebrities’ children or anypoint favor that.” A highlight of her at an early stage adolescence, she states, was sneaking right into a birthday party for Aaron Carter, the kidbrother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter. “Tbelow was a point when she be­came Baby Spice,” recalls Lively’s brvarious other Eric, 27. “She’d just take off the Baby Spice outfit to wash it.”

Growing up, Lively dreamed of attend­ing Stanford College. She defines a rigorous academic life that resembles that of Tracy Flick, the Type-A student Reese Witherspoon played in Election: student federal government, AP classes, choir, cheerleading. (She’d later turn down a role in Median Girls because of a commitment to cheerleading camp, Eric states.) When Lively was 15, Eric absconded through his sister for a monthlong European vacation. “We visited London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Co­logne, Brussels,” she states. Eincredibly day, Eric would certainly nudge Blake around her future. “He’d say to me, ‘What do you want to execute for a living?"” Lively states. “I would certainly dcheck out lunch eextremely day bereason I kbrand-new he was going to ask me that.”

Within a year, Lively was out on audi­tions, and also not lengthy after, she landed the part of the soccer-playing, soccer-coach-tempting Bridget in the tween hit The Sis­terhood of the Traveling Pants (Ernie Live­ly played Bridget’s father). In addition to a Pants sequel, Lively has newly starred in smaller films favor Elvis & Anabelle(with Mary Steenburgen) and also the upcoming Private Lives of Pippa Lee (via Alan Arkin), in which she plays a young woman on a route to a nervous breakdown.

At initially, Lively didn’t want to be a Gos­sip Girl. “I was skeptical,” Lively claims of Schwartz and Savage’s initial pitch. “I assumed, ‘I don’t want to perform a TV display, be­reason you need to commit 6 years of your life to one character."”

But the Pants sisterhood had actually been pushing Lively for the job. Schwartz and Savage noticed on Net message boards that teenage girls believed Lively would be perfect for Serena. The producers did the hard offer, assuring her that Gossip Girl wouldn’t devolve right into a ridiculous soap opera. “Then Stephanie told her what her wardrobe would certainly be,” Schwartz says, “and also she was in.”

Lively knows that Serena is her defining character. “Serena’s a lot favor me,” she ad­mits. In the books, Serena is an uptown It girl, yet Lively’s granted her a mellower, The golden state vibe (Schwartz admits among his beforehand involves was whether Lively “can acquire her New York on”). In her relent­less showdowns through Blair, her on-off re­lationship via Dan Humphrey and also even at the finish of the initially season, when she re­vealed that she’d left a young man dying after a drug-sustained romp (“Really tolling,” Lively recalls of shooting the scene), Sere­na’s relatable, or as relatable as you can be through a billionaire stepbrother and also winter breaks dancing in Argentina. Says Lively, “I make Serena a small more goofy, simply be­cause that’s just how I am.” (“She likewise wears even more Chanel,” says Meester.)

“I provided to try to get Blake to drink through me – as soon as I was 22 and she was 16, I was prefer, ‘If you ever before want to drink, you have to do it with me,"” says Eric Lively. “But she’s constantly been an excellent girl. I store waiting for her to get a big ego or not speak to earlier, and also it hasn’t happened yet.”

The increase of Gossip Girl has made Lively a shiny targain for the supermarket tabloids, the wavering veracity of which she doesn’t yet seem to mind. “I’d much rather have them comprise lies than tell them the fact, bereason that’s the one thing I have actually,” she states, though the fact about Lively is that she’s been seeing co-star Badgley for more than a year. Meanwhile, Gossip Girl has actually el­evated Lively to a style-symbol standing unwatched given that Sarah Jessica Parker strapped on her Manolo Blahniks for Sex and the City. “I’m shocked once I get a handwritten note from Giorgio Armani,” she says, before adding that her current Vogue cover “feels fake.” “When I look at it, it’s choose, ‘That’s not a real Vogue."”

Lively flashes her Southern California smile. “I feel prefer I’m fooling everyone.”

Can I obtain an additional monkey, please?” It’s creeping previous 10 p.m. on a Monday, and also the Gos­sip Girl testosterone load – Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford and also Ed Westwick – is huddled amid the ruins of three turcrucial burgers at the Half King, a cozy literary-crowd pub in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. (“We can have met at Rawhide,” Badgley cracks, referring to the fabled gay dive bar dvery own the street.) The drink of option is Golden Monkey, a grassy Belgian-style beer via a not unnoticeable alcohol volume.

“Don’t disrespect the Golden Moncrucial,” Crawford says.

“Nine allude five percent, guy,” Westwick states, holding the beer aloft.

A male customer at the bar begins to walk about the Gossip Guys’ table silently, as if circling prey. He hovers for half a min­ute before speaking up.

“Sorry to interrupt, but I actually watch your guys’ display a lot,” he claims. “My girl­friend turned me on to the display. I just wanted to say congrats on everything. You males execute a good project.”

Crawford stands as much as shake the guy’s hand. A round of “Thank yous” follows. When the dude leaves, the Gossip Guys say this kind of enrespond to is typical.

“Yeah, I don’t think he was talking around his girlfriend,” Westwick states.

“That’s the method the majority of men are,” states Badgley.” ‘Oh, yeah, my girlfriend…"”

“It’s a huge cover,” says Crawford.

Tonight, there’s some nostalgia for the early on days of Gossip Girl, prior to anyone cared that they were dating or Perez Hil­ton mocked them for “gaychallenge.” It’s been almost 2 years considering that the actors arrived in New York, relocating into the Gramercy Park Hotel (“It was type of a summer camp,” claims Savage) via little hint of the phenom­enon to come.

“I feel a deep love for each of these peo­ple,” Westwick announces. “Althe majority of as if we were orphans that ended up at an orphan­age. There’s something Dickensian about it. If I’m drunk and also I’m about to autumn asleep in the street, I can knock on Penn’s door and he’ll let me in.”

“Actually,” Badgley claims, “I’ll simply spoon him in the gutter.”

Westwick howls. “Exactly!” he says. “Throw a rug over me. With a straw for the rainwater!”

The British-born Westwick nearly didn’t acquire cast in Gossip Girl. Schwartz and also Sav­age loved the loved one unwell-known, who had actually parts in films prefer Breaking and Enter­ing and also Children of Men– “We’d never checked out a male through that kind of power,” states Schwartz – however as the pilot was around to begin shooting, Westwick couldn’t secure a occupational visa in time. The CW asked the pro­ducers to consider other actors; they organized out. Eventually Westwick gained his visa, and also became Gossip Girl‘s irresistible antihero – a peacock hedonist who have the right to steal any type of scene through three whispered words: “I’m Chuck Bass.” His Chuck is much more prominent in the TV present than he remained in the book series, in which Chuck was a rakish bisex­ual that prowled about through a monessential on his shoulder named Sweetie. “He’s virtually a caricature in the books,” admits Cecily von Ziegesar, the writer. “But I love Chuck on the show. I think Ed’s a good actor.”

Westwick, who has actually asserted he partly stole Chuck Bass’ level WASP accent from Alfonso Ribeiro’s character, Carlton Banks, on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, says it wasn’t a simple change. “When I came to America, I felt choose a dimwit,” he confesses. “Tright here were so many type of points I’d never before done. I’d never consumed sushi. I didn’t know what calamari was.”

“You didn’t know exactly how to execute laundry,” interjects Crawford. A gentlemanly Texan via a background that would certainly have made Andy Warhol faint – former model, der­matologist father, sister that was Miss Missouri 2008 – Crawford was Gossip Girl‘s breakout hunk, with a blue-eyed confront constructed for MySpace pperiods.

“I didn’t recognize just how to do fucking laun­dry!” Westwick claims. “Lights and darks, man! You fucking taught me that!”

Westwick and also Crawford live together, in a messy apartment not far from the Half King. At least the rumor was it was messy. Crawford clintends that the bache­lor pad is presently “exceptionally pristine.” West­wick, clearly the Oscar Madichild of the pair, brags that he recently painted his bedroom and also claims his photo shrine to Jim Morriboy just came dvery own.

As Gossip Girl took off, rumors started going roughly that Westwick and Craw­ford were even more than simply roommates. “Fucking ridiculous,” Westwick says.

“It’s funny bereason I love this fucking dude dat an early stage,” he says, nodding to Craw­ford. “I would certainly die for this fucking dude. He’s my brvarious other. But, by God, we are so right into our fucking woguys it’s ridiculous.

“But what are you going to do around it?” Westwick proceeds. “Get pissed off and continue to be house and cry around it?”

“We checked out the pool hall, had actually a beer and never talked about it aacquire,” Craw­ford states.

“Made out with a girl in public,” West­wick says. Crawford and Badgley burst right into laughter. It’s a not-too-veiled refer­ence to a really public tonsil-lashing West­wick enjoyed with Drew Barrymore after a Kings of Leon concert last autumn.

“Fuck it, I’ll have sex in public,” West­wick states. “That one’s still on the list. Still haven’t ticked that one off. Well, I have actually, yet they haven’t viewed me. Not George Michael public.”

“You have to sheight drinking appropriate currently,” Crawford says.

“Oh, please,” Westwick claims. He holds up his bottle. “Golden Monvital, don’t leave me on my very own.”

Badgley laughs. Of all the Gossip Guys, he was the hardened veteran, after stints on short-lived series prefer The Bedford Dia­ries, Do Overand also The Mountain. (Throughout Bedford, he states, he roomed in New York via Heroes’ Milo Ventimiglia, and offered Ventimiglia’s ID to get right into bars.) Like Lively, Badgley essential some arm-twisting to authorize on. “I was very cynical around tele­vision,” he states. He was around to revolve Gos­sip Girl dvery own on a Friday, before whip­ping around on a Monday and jumping on. “Stephanie and Josh understand just how to walk the line in between creative integrity and also com­mercial sensibility.”

Badgley’s character, Dan Humphrey, is as cshed to a plebe as Gossip Girl gets – an angsty wanna-be writer from Brooklyn who’s alternately repelled and fascinated by his upper-crust classmates. While an­other actor might have played Dan as a blah right male, Badgley imbued him via an sometimes obnoxious know-it-all-ness. Mocked digital as “Lonely Boy” by his classmates, Dan is a shameless striver, pin­ing for literary fame and briefly interning under a boozy writer played by novelist Jay McInerney. “Dan was expected to be the goofy, nerdy man who felt like he never before mea­sured approximately various other human being, however Penn made a decision to play it a little more arrogant,” states Lively. “Like he’s smarter than these spoiled bit brats.” She states Badgley is sometimes ag­gravated by this revolve. “He’ll be like, ‘Why’s Dan so pretentious?’ And it’s prefer, ‘Because you did it to him! It’s your fault!"”

Still, after many type of tv misfires, Badgley is awed by the trajectory of Gossip Girl, also among jaded New Yorkers. He tells of going with Lively to the restaurant at the Palace Hotel and noticing that the food selection contained an object dubbed the “Gos­sip Girl Grilled Cheese.” “And I was prefer, ‘You have to just speak to it the “Gossip Grill,”‘ and they went and reprinted the menu and also offered it ago to me. They changed the fuck­ing name right tright here on the spot. That was a minute when I was choose, ‘OK."”

All of the Gossip Guys understand this feel­ing. The attention to their private lives have the right to be intense: Crawford dated the country singer Carrie Undertimber, and also Westwick was caught smooching co-star Szohr at a Knicks game. Teen idolhood has actually a addressed life, and taking that following step forward as an actor is a complicated maneuver. Only a few world out there deserve to appreciate their place.

“I talked to Jakid Priestley as soon as,” Craw­ford says of the 90210 icon. “He’s, like, the coolest male ever. You understand he provided to date Blake’s sister? Blake was so young, and also she used to come up and try to kiss him.”

“I’m gonna kill her,” Badgley jokes.

“Jason shelp, ‘You recognize what? At the finish of the day, you’re going to look back and re­alize what those years were, and you’re al­means going to have nostalgia for them."”

“Exactly,” Badgley claims. “Ideally, we want our careers to continue to the stars. But re­gardless of wbelow they go, we’re never going to be in this position again.”

“Until following season,” Westwick corrects.

There will certainly be a SeasonThree of Gossip Girl, the CW newly announced via fan­fare (what were they going to perform, cancel it and also bring ago Reba?). In May, Schwartz and also Savage will certainly air the initially episode of a still-uncalled spinoff, a prequel series based on the Eighties Hollywood adolescence of Ser­ena’s mom, Lily van der Woodsen (fea­turing ex-Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy). “The concept is, ‘If you thought the children were poor, wait until you meet the parental fees,’ ” states Savage.

Wayward paleas, of course, are part of the Gossip Girl formula too – so much, we’ve checked out moms and also dads variety from coldly dis­sonant and also cougars to cokehead swindlers and also arsonists. “And they have actually sex – hello,” states Kelly Rutherford, the former Melclimbed Place actress who plays Lily on Gossip Girl. But the Gossip parents and children haven’t intercaroprovided a lot. Says Matthew Set­tle, who plays Rufus Humphrey, Dan and also Jenny’s rocker dad, and also that recently be­came a dad in real life, “I sometimes go hang about via the boys at a pub, yet as far as late nights, I wish I might.”

With spring arriving, the cast mem­bers are all set for a break. Their sched­ule is a beast – endless location scenes and also late nights on the Queens collection wbelow they shoot in a studio that formerly hoprovided The Sopranos. Filming wraps in April, and vacations are being planned, movie duties are under consideration and also a hand­ful of the actors are eager to launch music careers. Meester’s close to done through an electro-pop document, Westwick (who has a U.K. band dubbed the Filthy Youth) is des­peprice to begin rocking aget and also Tay­lor Momsen is finishing an album for Interscope Records. “It’s a badass rock & roll document,” says Momsen, that sounds 15 going on 25. “It’s not what world are going to be expecting.”

How long can Gossip Girl last? The Gos­sip Guys say they are effectively bound to seven-year contracts, though there’s an opportunity prior to Seakid Three to rene­gotiate their deals. Savage doesn’t sound wishful for a Bonanza-style run, joking that her motto through Schwartz for TV excel­lence is “Live quick, die young, leave a beau­tiful corpse.”

“Seven’s a lengthy time,” claims Badgley.

“Four is a good number,” says Craw­ford.

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Of course, the gilded actual people about Gossip Girl is crumbling. Will Chuck be buying ascots at Target? Will Serena be required to survive on Gossip Grilled Cheeses?“Well, as a result of budget cuts, Blair’s going to be leaving us,” Lively jokes. “She’s going to be shooting all her scenes in Ohio.”

“She’s going to bring the brvery own bag that the Hermèsbag goes in,” says Meester.

Schwartz and Savage believe that Gos­sip Girl have the right to host its area as a modern fantasy. “Romeo and also Juliet weren’t star-crossed lovers bereason of a subprime-mortgage crisis,” Savage says. But perhaps Gos­sip Girl have to bow to the New Austerity, simply for appearances. What if Serena and also Chuck moved right into a nice suite at the Holiday Inn Express?

“That would be really good!” Meester claims. “Just for one episode.”

Lively isn’t sure. “I don’t think civilization would certainly watch Gossip Girl,” she states, “if we stayed in a Holiday Inn Express.”