15 Surprising Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Gossip Girl – E! Online

 In Entertainment
Prepare to feel a wee bit old: The first episode of Gossip Girl aired almost 10 years ago.

Yes. Ten.

As you may recall, the CW hit made waves on Sept. 19, 2007, following the popularity of the book series written Cecily von Ziegesar, quickly catapulting Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Ed Westwick, Chace Crawford and Penn Badgley to fame.

In honor of the major anniversary, Vanity Fair caught up with the cast and crew—including creators Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz as well as writer Joshua Safran—who revealed some surprising facts not even the show’s biggest fans may have known about.

1. It Was Inspired After The O.C.‘s Success: Schwartz and Savage were also the creators and showrunners of The O.C. They were looking for something just as exciting to execute after the show’s end, and Gossip Girl was just the way to do it. 

“We learned a lot of lessons [on The O.C.] and its kind of crazy four-year run that we wanted to take and apply to something moving forward,” Schwartz said. “And we were really excited about doing something in New York.”

Gossip Girl, Blake Lively

The CW

2. Blake Lively Was Pegged for Serena Van der Woodsen From the Start: Thanks to the books’ fan groups and message boards as well as Lively’s popularity in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, the creators already had an idea Lively was the girl for the role.

“We didn’t see a lot of other girls for Serena,” Schwartz said. “She has to be somebody that you believe would be sitting in the front row at Fashion Week eventually.”

3. But Lively Wasn’t So Sure: She wanted to get her degree. “I said, ‘No, I want to go to college. Thank you, though,'” Lively recalled. “Then they said, ‘OK, you can go to Columbia [University] one day a week. After the first year [of the show], it’ll quiet down. Your life will go back to normal and you can start going to school. We can’t put it in writing, but we promise you can go.’ So that’s why I said, ‘OK. You know what? I’ll do this.'”

She never ended up finishing college.

4. Leighton Meester Was Underwhelmed By the Audition Process: “I think it was just the normal, typical pilot season audition for me,” she recalled. “I auditioned, and then I tested once, and then we did a screen test with everybody. And then, that was it…I dunno. I got it.”

But her recollection doesn’t entirely match her actions at the time. 

Blake Lively, Leighton Meester

“She came in and she was really funny, and really smart and played vulnerable,” Schwartz clarified. “But there was one problem: She was blonde. And Blake was blonde, obviously; Serena had to be blonde. So, [Leighton, who played Blair Waldorf] went to the sink and dyed her hair. She wanted it.”

5. The Two Girls Couldn’t Have Been Any More Different: “Blake is very much in the moment. Blake knows what’s happening. She knows this movie’s coming out, this band is happening,” Safran recalled. “Leighton [on the other hand] was very removed and very quiet, and, after her scenes were done, she would wander the stage. I had this image of her just in these gorgeous dresses with a book in her hand, sort of a little bit out of focus out in the corners.”

6. And They Weren’t BFFs: “Blake and Leighton were not friends,” Safran continued. “They were friendly, but they were not friends like Serena and Blair. Yet the second they’d be on set together, it’s as if they were.”

7. Ed Westwick and Chace Crawford Were BFFs: The two—who played Chuck Bass and Nate Crawford—actually lived together in an apartment in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood when the show started filming. They first bonded at an Arctic Monkeys concert.

“We had these girls coming up to us, and they were kind of freaking out about it: ‘Oh, we love the books.’ [Ed and I] kept looking at each other like, shit, man,” Crawford recalled.

Gossip Girl, Ed Westwick

Giovanni Rufino / The CW

8. Westwick’s Style Was Inspired by Jersey Shore: But not how you’d think. Rather, the reason Westwick was so put together and fashionable was to bring the opposite of Jersey Shore to TV.

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