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JAN
13
2 YEARS

'The Carrie Diaries': 8 Things to Know About CW's 'Sex and the City' Prequel

Executive producer Amy B. Harris talked Andy Warhol, '80s-esque stories and whether Carrie's first sexual encounter will be told.

Ellen Wong AnnaSophia Robb Austin Butler Winter TCA - H 2013
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"The Carrie Diaries" cast members Ellen Wong, AnnaSophia Robb and Austin Butler at winter TCA

Carrie Bradshaw will be making her CW debut with The Carrie Diaries.

There was never a question about where the Sex and the City prequel, which takes some of its cues from Candace Bushnell's Carrie Diaries novel, would end up. "It always felt predestined for The CW," executive producer Josh Schwartz told reporters Sunday during the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.

Executive producer Amy B. Harris, who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter prior to the session about tweaking Carrie's backstory, the fashion and delving into the title character's many firsts, said that while Sex and the City was still going, the writers "often longed to tell backstory."

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Because Carrie Diaries kicks off with a high-school Carrie (played by AnnaSophia Robb) taking on a much more mature life in Manhattan with Interview magazine editor Larissa (Freema Agyeman), the push and pull of her real life and her fantasy life will be in conflict for a long while. "She will be hiding her age for quite a bit of time," Harris said, "with a lot of jokes about dermatology and fresh-faced Carrie Bradshaw."

With viewers already aware of Carrie's destination thanks to Sex and the City, the producers didn't necessarily think of it as a negative. "I love that it gets to be the first," Harris said of the Carrie Diaries. "So we find out why she chases people like Big and why she doesn't end up with Aidan ... how those first loves shape who you're attracted to."

Here are eight other highlights from the Carrie Diaries panel:

From one Carrie Bradshaw to another: Sarah Jessica Parker, who starred on HBO's Sex and the City for six seasons and the movies, gave Robb her blessing when the actress landed the coveted role. She "sent me a very lovely note," Robb said.

STORY: 'Carrie Diaries' Boss on Reintroducing an Icon and Tweaking Her Backstory

Not all characters from the Bushnell novel are in: "Losing [Carrie's] sister and a couple of her friends is just creating a clean number of characters to play with every week," said Harris. Bushnell added: "Books and TV series are apples and oranges. A book has a beginning, middle and end. TV series, ideally, you want to go on and on," which "shapes a lot of decisions."

There is green screen on the '80s-set series: Because The Carrie Diaries films on the streets of present-day New York City, but is set several decades earlier, the producers are forced to green screen some parts of the background filming in the Big Apple.

Who is Carrie's first?: Harris revealed that Carrie's first sexual encounter will be explored at some point on the series. "We've definitely been talking about it a lot," she said. "We haven't nailed it down yet. We're trying to figure it out."

AIDS will play a role in the series: "We have a character Walt (Brendan Dooling) who is potentially figuring out his sexuality," said Harris, who added that it wouldn't be appropriate for the time period if that wasn't examined in some way.

Will the character of Andy Warhol appear?: Because Interview magazine is such a major factor in The Carrie Diaries story, the question of whether the character of Andy Warhol would make an appearance came up. (Warhol, who died in 1987 -- three years after The Carrie Diaries first begins -- founded the magazine.) He is "looming large," said Harris, likening him to Charlie of Charlie's Angels. "He's going to be talked about and around the universe." At the moment, though, "We haven't quite decided."

A Downton Abbey comparison?: Schwartz, a guru in the teen drama department (The O.C., Gossip Girl), joked that because the majority of the castmembers are in their early 20s or teenagers, dealing with the technology of the '80s, "You feel like you're doing Downton Abbey sometimes."

Another '80s-esque storyline: Harris said that there will be a story centered on the Rubix cube.

The Carrie Diaries premieres Monday on The CW.

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