When we first heard about the characters that would populate the new 90210 universe, Adrianna wasn't one of the names that popped up. But over the course of the past few months, she's gone from being a side character on the spinoff to one of the show's main focuses. She's already dealt with drugs, rehab, and pregnancy — not to mention getting kicked out of the school musical — and it sounds like there's more to come. At the 90210 Peach Pit party at TCA, I chatted with actress Jessica Lowndes about what Adrianna will be up to for the rest of the year. Here are highlights:
What's the story of how you got involved with 90210?
I was signed on as a guest star. I would have been lucky to have four episodes, is what I thought. I knew I was a singer in the school musical who might have a little addiction to pills and that would be it. . . They just kept writing for me and giving me such fun material to work with, and it was emotionally draining, but it was really rewarding. I learned a lot about myself as an actress, I was pushing boundaries, I was meeting incredible people — I was interviewing real addicts, because I didn't want to make a mockery of it, because I, Jessica, have no experience with drugs or being pregnant or any of it.
How did you find out what all was coming up for your character? Did you just see in the script, "Oh, now I'm going to OD, now I'm going to rehab"?
We usually get the script the day before. It's fast paced like that. I had to work my butt off. [I got one script] and I'm like, "Oh, gosh, OK, I die in this episode, hopefully I come back." And then I got the series regular contract the day after.
So probably not going to die anytime soon.
Yeah, probably not, unless I, like, come back to haunt people.
To hear about her favorite Adrianna moments and what's coming up with the baby story, just
Adrianna's grown so much as a character since the series started. What are some of the moments that stand out to you?
I feel really fortunate — [the writers] gave her a lot of depth, and because she was on drugs, she was almost a different personality and a different person. There was a lot of anger, and she was mean and b*tchy. And now you see a softer side, now that she's come off the drugs. . . . The scenes with Shannen [Doherty] were really intense, like when I wasn't able to perform in the school musical, and that whole episode, the hotel scene — that was the first time you saw how conniving the character could be, and just the jealousy and the anguish. It was crazy. As horrible as those things were, she was doing it from a place of pain, a lot of pain.
How did you prepare for the drug addict part of the role?
I watched every drug movie ever made, it feels like. I would just take notes, I kept rewinding, and all my friends — I'd invite them over like, "Want to watch a drug movie tonight?" . . . I talked to real addicts actually going through it, I was in touch with a rehab center up in Vancouver, I talked to other addicts, other friends of mine who recovered from certain things. I wrote down little details of what they did when they were high, like tapping their fingers, and I added that into a scene. As much as I researched it, I was still scared every scene before, because I didn't want to look stupid and I didn't want to make a mockery of it, because it's such a serious issue.
And how did you prepare to play a potential teen mom?
I think that it's a fear with any young girl that is sexually active. It is a very real thing that can happen, and I think we deal with it in a really honest way about what it's like with teen sex and unprotected sex. Adrianna — all I can say is that it's too late for an abortion at this point. You know, she sometimes took her birth control pills, sometimes took other pills. So she's going to go through with the pregnancy, you're going to find out who the baby's daddy is — his identity will be revealed two weeks from now. You'll see how her boyfriend Navid deals with it, [tonight] she tells him. Some friendships grow really really close, some grow far apart, and she's back to being really lonely and searching for that happy ending still.
Were you a fan of the original 90210?
I was a huge fan. I didn't watch it when it was really popular because I was 3, but obviously I've seen it since, so I was a huge fan. And when I saw, OK, there's a new 90210 and [this character] is a singer, I was like, "That's it, this is mine." And it was a total bonus that I was given so much emotional stuff because that's my favorite stuff to do in the entire world, crying scenes. It was really surreal and incredible.
Photos courtesy of The CW