The sudsy "Gossip Girl" has been one of the most talked-about shows at the TCA press tour. At a bustling party for The CW's stars the other night, I pulled aside Leighton Meester, who plays Blair, for some scoop on her role in the show. Here are some highlights of our conversation:
On the best part of playing Blair: "She kind of is a quintessential bitch, and I would say that's awesome and I love to play that — believe me, it's really really fun. But it's not just that, and that's the best thing. She has all these issues that she's dealing with that I think a lot of young women are going to be able to relate to and look up to. She's very vulnerable and very insecure, and everybody, obviously, can relate to that. She's dealing with issues of friends and family and, you know, love, boyfriend, school, body image, whatever. And she's dealing with that under a lot of scrutiny. It's so much pressure, and I think she takes a lot of that out on herself."
On reading the Gossip Girl books: "I actually read the script knowing that they were based on books, and I was like, 'I have to get my hands on these books, I have to!'" But now I'm really kind of wary to keep reading. I don't want to start off and be disappointed or spoil it — and also because I don't think [the show]'s going to follow precisely along with the books. Which, you know, it shouldn't. It should have its own life."
On playing a character people already know: "I've met a lot of girls who really love the books, and they really mean something to them, and my character means something to them, which is just really wonderful. It's so wonderful, even though it's kind of scary and weird to play something that somebody might feel really strongly about who they are. I'm kind of fearful someone's going to come up and and be like, 'Blair wouldn't do that!' But I feel like they're going to be really happy. Everybody that I've met that has been really into the books, they are absolutely thrilled."
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On how she relates to her character: "I feel like she's got really good things about her that I would like to think I have too. In some respects she's really confident, and she's really cool, and she's sweet, and she's super smart, and really driven, and she knows what she wants, and she's obviously well dressed. But aside from that there's some things that are a huge challenge and I really will admit that it's kind of intimidating."
On Blair's insecurities: "I can definitely see how her mother makes her insecure, and that's sort of the beginning point to how she reacts with everybody else, how she reacts with even her best friend, who she is so jealous of and so insecure about. And she's so freaked out about being the most beautiful girl in the room."
On mean girls: "I've wondered since my first day in school ever if people are just inherently mean or bad or how they get that way. ... I think probably I have been that [mean] girl, and you know, somebody thinks about it for the rest of their life, and that's how they're going to remember me, which is really sad, cause I'm not! ... I think people can be nice, but I think especially in high school when they kind of feel that they have nothing better to do and the only most important thing is high school, they tend to be mean."