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The actor has been tapped to make his directorial debut on the Disney Channel update Girl Meets World, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively. “It’s something I’ve been prepping for for the last 20 years,” Savage tells THR. Production on the episode begins at the end of the month.
According to an official episode synopsis, the installment centers on a makeover led by Cory and Topanga’s teenage daughter and her friends. “In an effort to make an odd girl more appealing to Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis), Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) remake her in their image,” reads the description. “But Farkle shows everyone that true beauty comes from within.”
Savage follows in the footsteps of his older brother Fred, an actor (The Wonder Years, The Princess Bride) and accomplished TV director (Happy Endings, Modern Family, 2 Broke Girls). “Fred and I have had many discussions about it,” the 33-year-old says. “He’s always willing to offer advice and suggestions and pointers when he can. He’d be a very helpful guide as I go through this process.”
For Savage, the time is right to make the leap into directing. And it certainly helps that he already had seven years of living Boy Meets World.
“It was a natural progression because I had always wanted to direct, and I felt such a personal connection to the show,” he says. “It was an important piece of my life, really. Directing was a natural next step for me, and it’s something I was looking forward to doing.”
Savage envisions “a smooth, easy transition” that first day he steps onto the downtown L.A. set as a newly minted director. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be an interesting experience,” he says, hopeful that it will lead to directing gigs outside of the show.
As with a lot of multicamera shows filmed mostly in front of a live studio audience, Girl Meets World “is very fluid and the episodes themselves are being changed even throughout the week that they’re being produced and directed. That’s part of the process,” Savage says. “That being said, it’s a process I’ve grown up with and it’s a process that I’ve grown accustomed to.”
Some of Savage’s favorite directors have been, not surprisingly, actors — most specifically William Russ, who plays Cory’s father in both the original show and the update. “He was so passionate about the project and he knew the story really well,” Savage recalls. “I tend to favor directors that are actors, and I think it was something I was always interested in. This show is the perfect place for me to jump in.”
Savage remains unfazed by the pressures of his upcoming stint behind the camera and the attention surrounding it, especially by those who have been with Boy Meets World since 1993. “One of the wonderful things about the show is we have a loyal fan base, and they’ve been with us since the beginning and they haven’t left us,” he says. “That’s one thing we will always appreciate and never take for granted.”
Girl Meets World premieres later this year on Disney Channel.
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