By: Vlada Gelman
Last year, Mischa Barton passed on the part of bad girl Georgina Sparks on GOSSIP GIRL, but there’s still a chance that she may cross paths with Blair, Chuck and the rest of the gang.
THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE executive producer Mike Kelley, who is “good friends” with GOSSIP producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, pitched his idea for a crossover between the two shows at a recent Q&A. It’s not hard to imagine a crossover between the two glitzy, New York-set shows, but the setting for Kelley’s idea is far from glamorous.
“Our cast is on the subway, and their cast is on the subway, and the subway shuts down. We don’t necessarily have to cross them. We can tell two stories with them in the background of us and maybe have one or two characters cross through,” Kelley described. “Something like that, that would be an event moment. It would have to be really creative. They don’t need us.”
Whether or not Barton will be on GOSSIP GIRL is a mystery, but she will very much be a part of THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE, Kelley and fellow executive producer Karey Burke emphasized.
“We love her. I’ve known her for years,” said Kelley, who worked on THE OC and created SWINGTOWN. “She looks great. Her acting is terrific. Her character is integral to all the stories, so her character is not going anywhere and neither is she.”
“She’s been nothing but a total pro,” Burke added. “Her situation did nothing to stop production or push production. It’s our own fault that we didn’t have our sets ready.”
Despite Barton’s real life health troubles, the producers aren’t taking it easy on her character Sonia in terms of subject matter. Sonia will still have to deal with living in the spotlight, escaping the paparazzi and what looks like a drug problem in the pilot presentation.
Kelley and Burke also cited the benefits of Barton’s modeling connections. Irina Lazareanu, one of Barton’s model friends who just happened to be around on set, cameos in the pilot as the first model in the Zac Posen show. Other famous faces appearing on the show include PROJECT RUNWAY judge Nina Garcia, designer Matthew Williamson and models Erin Fetherston and Jessica Stam. The show was also able to get a Versace dress for the pilot and a future episode will film inside Calvin Klein’s offices as the models shoot a Calvin Klein Jeans billboard for Times Square.
Expanding upon the pilot presentation,THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE pilot will add a fashion shoot and the introduction of Corbin Bleu’s storyline, who went from guest in the pilot to series regular. Bleu’s model/musician will no longer have a drug problem, but will instead enter a “kept boy” relationship with a powerful, older woman (Jaime Murray), trading sex for work.
Kelley also teased that “one of the characters that you think is probably going to be a regular on the show gets ousted, but will return.”
As the series goes on, it will explore the body issues that male models must face and might feature an appearance from executive producer Ashton Kutcher, but it’s much more likely that Kutcher will direct an episode rather than appear onscreen. And although Tyra Banks is already doing an arc on GOSSIP GIRL, she has an “open invitation.”
Meanwhile, Elle McPherson, who plays the head of the Covet Modeling Agency, is on for the first seven of the series’ 13-episode order. Her storyline will intertwined with Sonia’s personal life in a surprising way.
And if THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE sounds familiar, it might be because Kelley has enlisted SWINGTOWN and 90210 composer Liz Phair to score the series.
Vlada resides in Los Angeles, where there are stars in the sky and on the ground. She has worked for TVWeek, Starpulse.com, SignOnSanDiego.com and The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, CA. She runs the TV blog Staying In and can be found on Twitter: @stayingin.