Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling — the stars, writers and producers of the new FOX series BH90210 — stopped by BUILD Series to discuss what it was like making a reboot of the hit show Beverly Hills, 90210, and how the drama that swirled around the original cast helped to set up new storylines.
In BH90210, which premieres on Wednesday, the actors from the original series play fictionalized versions of themselves.
The original 1990s hit series made stars out of the young cast, which in addition to Garth and Spelling, starred Luke Perry, Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley, Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering. And with the collective rise of the cast’s celebrity came fans’ increasing interest in the actors’ personal lives and behind-the-scenes dynamics.
Rumors of cast drama and feuds surrounded the Beverly Hills, 90210 set, with constant reports of an unreconcilable riff between Doherty, the cast and the production team. The rumors of on-set turmoil felt all but confirmed when Doherty left the show after Season 4.
But with the reboot, Garth and Spelling say BH90210 is reclaiming this narrative to prove that the cast is in on the joke, saying everyone was aware of how they were perceived at the height of their fame and made the decision to write it into the show.
“We used to hate rumor and gossip and now we embrace it to the full because it’s what we can use in our show,” said Spelling. “Jen and I met with Shannen… you know, all that stuff was so heightened by the media.”
“We just decided to take it back and own it and have fun with it,” Garth added. “I think it comes through in the show and as the show progresses through the season we use it more and more and see how that energy affects the group.”
One of the running jokes in the show is the cast’s relationship with Doherty years later.
In the first episode, the cast is at a convention when a panel moderator introduces Shannen Doherty via Skype and everyone sighs.
When pitching this ongoing joke to Doherty, Spelling and Garth were careful to make sure she felt in control of – not the butt of – the jab.
“We were sensitive to how she felt about it, for sure. We all collaborated and came up with all of it together,” said Garth.
When the two first got a group text message going about a possible reboot, Doherty seemed hesitant.
“I don't think that Shannen felt quite ready to go all-in right away,” said Garth.
However, once the idea of them playing fictionalized versions of themselves was established, the pair said Doherty found the role reversal empowering, and was ready to embrace it.
“I think a big part of that is she knows that was the perception that was put out there,” said Spelling. “That’s what made it OK for her to embrace it and poke fun at it. It wasn’t necessarily her, it was the media.”
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