August 06, 2013 9:00am PT by Philiana Ng
'Carrie Diaries' Boss on Locking in Young Samantha, Friday Move and Season 2 (Q&A)
The Carrie Diaries is moving one step closer to Sex and and the City with the introduction of young Samantha Jones.
Filling the role had been a desire of executive producer Amy B. Harris since the very start of The CW prequel series — and there was no question in her mind that Samantha would be the first of three friends Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) would encounter on her road to adulthood.
With production on the sophomore season well underway in New York City ("Last year we started four days before Hurricane Sandy, so this year is a breeze!"), Harris voiced relief with The Carrie Diaries' move from the competitive 8 p.m. Monday slot to the less-crowded Friday night. "I'm well aware of the fact that the reason why we got picked up was not our numbers," Harris tells The Hollywood Reporter.
In a chat with THR, the showrunner previews the second season, discusses the difficulties casting Samantha, hints at other Sex and the City characters who may be introduced and the finale questions that will be answered.
The Hollywood Reporter: When the first image of Lindsey Gort (2 Guns) as young Samantha Jones was released, the Internet chatter was loud.
Amy B. Harris: I know. I've been waiting to do this since the pilot. I knew Samantha was the first of the [Sex and the City] characters I was going to introduce, and then I had to pray we found a girl that was exciting. I started to think, if we don't find her, I'll just rewrite it and she won't come in this season and we'll just keep looking. Our casting director after the first day said, "I think I have somebody for you to take a look at." [Lindsey] just blew it out of the water. She looks like [a young Kim Cattrall], which scared me because that was just thing to get caught up in. And then she just had that thing: funny and sexy. She was really as hard as you can imagine finding in a person and that was phenomenal.
THR: And that pose was pure Samantha. Was there a lot of thought that went into what the first image would be?
Harris: She owned it. We flew her in, dyed her hair, threw her in costume and it was like, "OK! That's even better than I'd hoped." My hope for Carrie was that meeting Samantha would embolden her, make her feel a little less tied to responsibility and consequences. Watching the two actors together has been amazing.
THR: You've said that the start of the season will kick off in the summer. How will the episodes be split up in terms of summer vs. school year?
Harris: We're doing new episodes in the summer and then we'll go into the return of the school year. But we're really trying to split this season. Each episode is really 50 percent Manhattan, 50 percent family in Castlebury. We're excited to give Manhattan its due.
THR: Carrie's father, Tom (Matt Letscher), is going to be integrated into New York City more with a job at Harlan's (Scott Cohen) firm. What can we expect to see there?
Harris: We have some really fun ways, I think, to bring the other actors into the city in some surprising ways.
THR: How much will Carrie and Walt (Brendan Dooling) have changed since the last time we saw them?
Harris: They're living together in the city, so they're spending a lot of time together and they've learned to lean on each other. This is a relationship that is getting as close as it was in Castlebury [and they're] actually getting closer as they're realizing Manhattan is their city.
THR: What is Sebastian's (Austin Butler) journey in season two?
Harris: Sebastian will be around for sure — and he is not going to let Carrie go easily. Whether or not she chooses to engage with him or not is yet to be seen. But I would describe in this show as very much the big Carrie relationship, which will probably take a lot of different forms along the way. But he's here to stay.
THR: What awaits Dorrit (Stefania Owen) after she loses her virginity before her sister?
Harris: Dorrit is sexually active before her sister, which is a big deal for her and her older sister to realize. She's a lot less complicated about relationships than Carrie, so she's gonna approach her relationship in a simpler way, I think, which will sometimes mean more drama. But she knows what she wants and when she wants it. Miller (Evan Crooks) for us is a dreamy addition, so you can see how that sort of plays out, what sort of inappropriate things she might learn to take on.
THR: Will Tom eventually find out about Dorrit or is that something you and the writers are still working through?
Harris: What we thought was sort of funny was the idea that Tom didn't know about Miller at all, because Dorrit is so difficult. But it's going to [be] reveal[ed] pretty quickly to Tom.
THR: You alluded to Sex and the City character Stanford in the finale. Will we see him in the new season?
Harris: We teased Stanford at the end of the year [and] we decided to explain his not-coming-in [to the show] right off the bat because we really wanted Samantha's entrance to be her own. But I think he could very well come in this season.
THR: What about other ancillary Sex and the City characters possibly entering the fray?
Harris: Not so far, but we've only broken to [episode six]. There's still the very good possibility that some more people are coming in.
THR: What are your thoughts on moving from Mondays to Fridays nights this fall?
Harris: I feel like there's a lot less pressure, which I'm sort of thrilled about. I'm well aware of the fact that the reason why we got picked up was not our numbers. It was the streaming numbers. In my mind, the fact that it's on Friday nights means people get to watch it over the weekend and we get to still be television that people are talking about. I'm excited about it. I feel like Monday it was The Bachelor and it was The Voice and it was Dancing With the Stars — I was just like, "Oh my god, it's the CBS comedies. Everywhere I looked, it was like, "We're going to get killed." So I feel like Friday's a great night. Most of the kids I know don't go out until 9:30, 10, so some of them will hopefully watch from 8 to 9. Then the rest will watch online. The CW has been incredibly supportive of the fact that they know this is how people are watching our show and brought us back because of that, so I'm not worried.
THR: Is there the chance for more than 13 episodes?
Harris: There's always the possibility for more, but Sex and the City did 13 or 18 depending on the season and we don't want to have to push story in a way that it's like people are going to have sex with an alien in order to tell 22 episodes of television. I hope we get to keep it as a slightly more limited series, that would be ideal for me. It gives you time to milk your stories.
THR: What's a season two nugget you can share that you haven't really revealed yet?
Harris: Carrie is going to have a big first this year. It's one of the ones she thought a lot about last season.
THR: Her virginity?
THR: With new love interests?
Harris: Or someone we've already met. It's one or the other. It's either new love interests or someone we already know.
The Carrie Diaries premieres Oct. 25 on The CW.