The stars of HBO Max's upcoming Gossip Girl reboot are spilling more details on how the new show will differ from the early 2000s original.
The reboot of the CW's iconic teen series is set to premiere sometime later this year with a whole new group of privileged New York City students getting entangled in drama under the watchful eye of the ubiquitous Gossip Girl. The streaming service announced the reboot in 2019, with original creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage tied to the project.
Based on the Cecily von Ziegesar book series, the original Gossip Girl ran for six seasons between 2007 and 2012, starring Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick.
Kurt Iswarienko/The CW The original Gossip Girl cast
"We realized we could take these roles and make them our own – they have their own qualities that are special and differentiate [them] from the original," Lind said of their characters in a Q&A in the magazine's spring issue. "I think people will relate to them on different levels."
"These are new characters, new storylines," added the 18-year-old, who stars as Audrey Hope in the series. "It's a new generation."
"We're just keeping an open mind, staying true to the essence of Gossip Girl but with a completely different take on it," said Alexander, 28.
Among the differences is greater representation of people of color and queer people. Writer and producer Josh Safran previously said at the 2019 Vulture Festival that "there's a lot of queer content on this show."
"I think that what we can say is this — we're making a series in 2020 and 2021," Lind said in Dazed Magazine when asked about queer representation. "It's really important for us to not just talk about these things but also express them as normal things that kids deal with. It shouldn't be this new, exciting thing to talk about, it just exists. It's about normalizing things that used to be different or taboo."
Gotham/GC Images Emily Alyn Lind, Thomas Doherty, Jordan Alexander and Savannah Lee Smith filming for Gossip Girl
"Like Emily is saying, people are allowed to just be there and be whatever they are – whether it's queer or not," said Alexander. "Just in the sense that, like, we're all just humans existing. People do what people do."
Peak, 18, added that the increased representation in the new Gossip Girl is "reflective of the times."
"There's a lot of representation, which I can't say we saw a lot of in the first one," she said. "It's dope being able to see people who look like you and who are interested in the same things, and who happen to be in entertainment, because it's so influential and obviously reflective of the times."
Lind also said that she personally "didn't want to take anything" from the CW original.
"I wanted to start fresh — it's a new take on it, a different time," she said. "It's not a reboot, it's a continuation, so we have an entirely new story and I think that's really important."