Eighteen years old at the time, she had just appeared in a small independent film and come to a crushing conclusion: “I realized that [acting] was a business as much as a craft,” she told me more than a decade after the fact, while on the West Coast, where her husband, Ryan Reynolds, was about to start shooting a prime-time soap opera about beautiful, articulate, sun-kissed teenagers living in Orange County, was wrapping up its four-year run.The show had arrived on the scene with a tidal wave of buzz, its actors almost immediately splashed on magazine covers and pushed out onto red carpets; but after burning through plot at a rapid pace (its leading lady, Mischa Barton, saw her character get killed off somewhat unceremoniously in the third season), the show sputtered to a close, ending with a truncated final season.(“They did it for the money,” Schwartz said, with a laugh.) Trump said in an interview at the time that she never missed an episode of never did particularly well in the ratings.But it has enjoyed a continuing popularity, even 10 years later.The official green light was a mere formality: Schwartz and Savage were off to the races.
When they started to cast the show, Savage and Schwartz looked at online message boards, where fans of the book series had already decided that Lively—known at this point primarily for her role in 2005’s Lively was not completely sold, though. After the first year [of the show], it’ll quiet down.As Kristen Bell, who voiced “Gossip Girl” for the show, said to me, “[Schwartz and Savage] were spearheading: The show also debuted at the very end of the period during which people regularly watched shows live when they aired (as opposed to on their DVRs or laptops or phones).As Ostroff put it, “It holds such a place in pop culture and in society where people just really say, ‘I remember everything around that show.Your life will go back to normal and you can start going to school. I’ll do this.’”When I asked Lively if that arrangement ended up working out (even though I already knew the answer), she responded, laughing: “This is advice to anyone: when they say, ‘We promise, but we can’t put it in writing,’ there’s a reason they can’t put it in writing.” She added, “But no, the show didn’t slow down.We can’t put it in writing, but we promise you can go.’ So that’s why I said, ‘O. It just got —which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its premiere this September—would be that show for anyone who was a teenager or twentysomething (or, in many cases, older than that! The show premiered before Instagram or Snapchat had launched, and before Facebook and Twitter had become the juggernaut forces they are today.