In Paris with their actors this week, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the two creators of the tvshow, talk about the behind the scenes of the set in the capital. And about the particular success of Gossip Girl.
Set the debut of season 4 of Gossip Girl in Paris was decided to create a buzz to relaunch the tvshow?
Josh Schwartz : it’s Stephanie’s idea…
Stephanie Savage : first, Paris has been a continuous reference in the tvshow since it started. The characters often talk about it, they say they’ve already been there, they have their parents there… it was an old dream to take the “Gossip girls” in this city, that I know very well and adore. Afterwards, when a tvshow goes in its 4th season, like ours, it isn’t the priority of the channel anymore, because the budget and the promo are used to promote debut series. We’re then condemned to find our ideas that will make people talk about us, like set the first two episodes in Paris. But it costs us much money!
The tendence is do economy: the studios helped you to do this?
SS : Actually, no! From January I’ve negotiated with CW and Warner this shooting in Paris. Three elements helped us to reduce the costs: the French tax for the foreigner sets, the fallen of the euro and we reached an agreement with some commercial partners thanks to the Warner Bros International.
JS : but first of all, to convince the CW, we’ve produced a special trailer « Gossip Girl in Paris » alternating footage of our actresses with views of Paris, or extracts of movies set in Paris. With Kristen Bell’s voice that finishes her speech with an « bisous bisous » (in French, ndlr). When we showed them the footage of the sequence they told us: « OK, I see the spirit, I leave you carte blanche providing that you’ll keep in the budget. »
What are the biggest difficulties on this kind of set?
JS : The jetlag ! (laughs.) The days of work are shorter here. In USA, you work 13h30 a day, on the contrary the crews in France are limited to 10 hours, alors que les équipes françaises sont limitées à dix heures. But we’ve just learned the efficacity. There were a lot of French fans. On Tuesday, Ed was “harrassed” by the crowd, when we shoot in the 12e, it was really scary. But we can’t complain, it was all good in general.
How do you explain that the tvshow has so many fans…
SS :… and the not so many tv viewers? (laughs)
Yes, even on our TF1…
SS : in US, I know that Gossip Girl is the most viewed tvshow on the Net. Same in Europe and Asia, no one watches the show on TV.
JS : We expect that on the Web where there’s that importance regarding the tvshow, and it’s instructive to see such inequality between our TV viewers and the popularity of our actors in the world. Gossip Girl is part of a new model of watching tvshows, we have to accept it.
SS : I don’t want to say anything, but regarding France, I have the impression that the dubbing doesn’t help. I’m not saying that it’s bad, but the fans I met here told me that they don’t like this version, and they don’t like to wait a lot of time to watch it on the channel. You can’t expect young Gossip Girl fans, that are really caring, to wait a year to watch the episodes on the TV.
And what will these two episodes set in Paris reserve us?
SS : It’s centred on Serena and Blair rivalry, that came here to pass their holidays. We find the same themes that you’re used to see on Gossip Girl, but with a Parisian background! I don’t want to say much, only that it will play a lot on the opposition between Paris and Proust, elegant and classic, and that one of Zola, more raw. A little like we do in New York in the Upper East Side and Brooklyn.
And our Clémence Poesy, what role do you reserved her?
Josh Schwartz : Her character is called Eva, she’s an old friend of Chucks and she’ll come to New York for the 3rd episode.
I totally agree with SS about the dubbage thing. I live in Italy, GG dubbed started airing more than two months after the season premiere in US, and it was creepy. Chuck has the voice of a pervert, Blair of a freak. The only voices that are better than the original are the ones of Blake and Chace. So she’s right, it airs too late and I can’t F wait to watch it. So I stay up at 3am to watch it live. Hehehe.
NOTE: Again, I’ve translated this from English but I’m not English, so if some French reader reads this and sees some mistakes, please let me know and I’ll correct them. Thanks.