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PaleyFest: The Goods on Gossip Girl

Hey, Upper East Siders. BuzzSugar here, with all the dish from Saturday night's Gossip Girl panel at the Paley Festival in Los Angeles. The sold-out crowd got some hints about what's coming up when the show returns with five new episodes starting April 21 and some of the scoop straight from the set — including the truth about Blake Lively's Guitar Hero skills, the plot lines that Gossip Girl series creator Cecily von Ziegesar would like to see included in the show, and how the fictional Gossip Girl blogger got her voice.

The evening started with a clip of the "Angela + Jordan = total sex in his car!" scene from My So-Called Life, which was greeted with appreciative cheers from the crowd — which was split pretty evenly between the MSCL demographic and the current teenage set. If not for the strike, we would have then gotten to see a new episode of Gossip Girl, but because none had been completed, we got a package of highlights from the season instead — including a mini gag reel of screw-ups from the set. (You know how every show seems to have that one cast member who can't help but drop an f-bomb every time he flubs a line? That's Penn Badgley.) The whole cast slipped into the auditorium to watch after the lights went down, so there was a lot of whispering and clapping going on in a row just to my left.

After clips, the cast and creative team took the stage. All of the main cast attended, along with creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, author von Ziegesar, and two of the show's other producers; the only obvious missing stars were Connor Paolo (Eric van der Woodsen) and Nicole Fiscella and Nan Zhang, who play Blair's dress-alike sidekicks Isabel and Kati. (Zhang apparently headed back to college during the strike, a fact Josh Schwartz said he only learned when they got back on set). Lively seemed to get the most applause, but there were plenty of squeals for Ed Westwick and Badgley, too.

Of course, the juiciest part of the evening was getting hints about what we'll see come April, so for the scoop (and update: here's part two!), just

.

  • The biggest thing we'll be seeing: more Bad Serena! A lot of that will be thanks to the arrival of Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg), a key figure from Serena's past and someone Blair fears.
  • Teased Lively: "Maybe the fact that [Serena] slept with Nate isn't the real reason she left, dot dot dot . . . "
  • Also, Serena and Chuck are getting used to the idea of being siblings, Dan is going to get dirtied up a little, and Blair and Jenny are going to war. Jenny will still be the queen bee when we return, just "learning her power," Taylor Momsen said.
  • Serena and Eric's father is going to show up eventually, though nobody would say when. Also, the five episodes will be building up to a wedding, Schwartz said. Hmm, who's getting married — Lily and Bart Bass, perhaps?
  • We'll also be seeing a lot more Vanessa — and not just in the Serena and Dan story. She's going to be getting some plots of her own, possibly including a little something with Nate.
  • Speaking of Vanessa, finding Jessica Szohr to play her was something of a happy accident. Schwartz and Savage were having a tough time casting the role, but then Szohr turned up with some mutual friends at a barbecue at Schwartz's house. "I had to go home and IMDB her to make sure she was actually an actress," Savage said.
  • One of the other great casting stories was Leighton Meester's. She was blonde when she auditioned, which proved to be a sticking point for the CW. "The network was like, 'She's great, but she's blonde,' Schwartz said. "We were like, 'She can also be brunette!'" But asking an actress to dye her hair during pilot season is a stretch, so Meester tried wearing a brown wig, which didn't work out so well. Eventually, she did take the plunge and dye her hair.
  • Lively's requirements for signing on to a series: no having to be locked in a cage, no being brainwashed by an old lady, and no pet monkey. "I would love to be a part of the show," she said she told Schwartz, "but I can't act with a monkey." Thus, Chuck lost his pet monkey — a shame, according to von Ziegesar, who said the monkey just makes Chuck "gayer and gayer and gayer" in the books. Hmmm, could he be the guy coming out of the closet?
  • The moderator (Entertainment Weekly's Tim Stack) asked Lively if she's as good at Guitar Hero as she was when Serena kicked ass at a party earlier this season. "I'm actually much better," she replied, revealing that she goes to tournaments in Brooklyn, covered in fake tattoos. She takes this stuff seriously: Originally, she was supposed to lose Guitar Hero to Vanessa, but she pleaded with the writers: "Let her get the guy, make her more beautiful, make her more talented, make her better in every way — but don't take away Guitar Hero!"
  • She then revealed she can actually only play well on medium — though she can apparently spin the guitar around her neck.
  • How did they pick the voice of Gossip Girl? Kristen Bell declared herself for the role, Savage said. But everyone was vague about whether we'd ever see the blogger in the flesh.
  • Noting that all the parties on Schwartz/Savage shows seem to end in fisticuffs and tears, Stack asked the two to explain what happened to them at parties that so scarred them for life. Savage: "Every party I ever went to ended in fisticuffs and tears." Schwartz: "I was never at one."

Here are the rest of the goodies from the GG panel. xoxo . . .

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aoitenshi aoitenshi 8 years
I saw Leighton as a blonde in Entourage - I think brunette looks better on her.
Zaianne Zaianne 8 years
Someone help! I am absolutely in love with that yellow dress Leighton is wearing!! anyone know where I can get one that is similar to it???
supertramp supertramp 8 years
They can't make Chuck gay, he's supposed to be with Blair. I also couldn't believe when i found out a few months ago that Leighton was the blond girl from House, but it is her. I also hope that Lily and Rufus get married, they just have so much chemistry.
livyourlife livyourlife 8 years
Dan CAN'T be gay!!!! I would die. Dan and Serena are too perfect together. Their relationship is a huge draw for me...
ElleJay ElleJay 8 years
Since when was Dan ever gay in the books??! I don't recall that-
asarwan asarwan 8 years
LOL i'm so excited. Thanks Buzz.
indielove indielove 8 years
Mmm Rufus is hot. I wanna see more Vanessa. I really like Jessica Szohr.
Manny654 Manny654 8 years
I can't really see Chuck being gay, although he does in the books, because the show has played up his womanizing so much. I could see Eric though, they haven't done a lot with his back story (maybe his conflicting sexuality was the reason for his suicide attempt)? I just can't wait to see the interactions between Georgina and Serena/Blair-I think she should steal either Dan or Nate for even more drama!
mlen mlen 8 years
cocoangel- was she really? i never would have made that connection!
dylaninjapan dylaninjapan 8 years
I didn't even connect blonde Leighton to brunette Leighton when I saw her as a blonde in a few episodes of Entourage, and then later as a brunette in GG.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Thanks for all the latest on GG, Buzz! Enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to hearing even more. Paley Fest sounds as though it was fun!
nillawafer1983 nillawafer1983 8 years
Her eyebrows are still brown in that pic...so is she naturally blonde or brunette?
Cocoangel Cocoangel 8 years
Leighton was blonde when she did a couple of episodes of House. She was the teen nympho stalking Dr. House.
DCStar DCStar 8 years
Oh, and let's not forget that in the books, Vanessa has a shaved head, and Jenny is a petite girl with big boobs. I don't think they'll be following the books exactly.
DCStar DCStar 8 years
Well in the books, Dan is gay. Chuck remains an extremely flamboyant is he or isn't he character. But I'd say both pretty much.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
If you want to have your mind blown, here's Leighton as a blonde. Crazy, right? I think it's gotta be either Eric or Chuck coming out of the closet.
em113 em113 8 years
wytang- i think thats the general consensus going around the net. and i can't picture leighton blonde, she was a brunette on Veronica Mars too. I think it really suits her.
nillawafer1983 nillawafer1983 8 years
Wow, Leighton was a blonde? She just looks so naturally brunette! Haha, and I can't wait to see Georgia Sparks...she's quite interesting in the books.
eggmaker eggmaker 8 years
wouldn't it have been funny? i can't wait for gossip's return. less than a month!!! YAY!
wytang627 wytang627 8 years
I think the guy that is coming out of the closet is Eric.... anyone with me?
alexlove alexlove 8 years
I wish Chuck had a pet monkey, that would have been awesome.
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