When HBO announced that it was officially developing a reboot of the teen drama Gossip Girl for its new streaming service last summer, it sparked genuine excitement around the world. Finally, we would be returning to the streets of the Upper East Side for a hearty helping of drama. It’s hard to believe that anyone could be happier about the remake than recovering Chair stans, but no one was more thrilled than Kristen Bell at the prospect of reprising her role in the series.
Bell was one of the most important parts of the show, starring on Gossip Girl as the sassy (and admittedly judgmental) voice of its narrator. It was an unusual role for the actress, especially since she had just come off of her run as the star of the mystery drama Veronica Mars. After that show’s cancellation, Bell really just wanted to keep working on The CW. Gossip Girl was that chance.
“The CW had just canceled Veronica Mars, and I thought, oh I need to find a job!” she told Vanity Fair. “I heard that they were doing a pilot called Gossip Girl, and I realised that the cast was probably five years younger than I was at the time. But there was a narrator, and she was a substantial part of the show.”
After a brief phone conversation with the network’s then-president Dawn Ostroff, Bell booked the gig. She was a perfect match for the part.
“It was so much fun,” Bell recalled her Gossip Girl days fondly. “I think that was the only role that I have never gotten a note on. I walked in, and they said ‘Just make this sassy and catty.’ And over the however many years that I did that role, I never got an adjustment.”
Bell’s narrator was as integral a part of the beloved series as its onscreen cast members. It’s no wonder, then, that she was the first person to sign on to reprise her role on the upcoming remake of The CW show set to air on HBO Max.
Development of the new Gossip Girl is already underway; the new Upper East Siders have been cast, and yeah, they’re kind of cool. The plot of the show will take place almost a decade after we discovered that Dan (Penn Badgely) was Gossip Girl. It will be set in a world ruled by social media, a concept that we were barely coming to terms in when Serena (Blake Lively) and Blair (Leighton Meester) were running things. We can also expect to see a more realistic portrayal of New York City, marked by a diverse cast of people of colour as well as queer-identifying individuals.
Even with all these changes, one thing about the Gossip Girl reboot will remain the same: Bell’s all-seeing, all-knowing narrator. Filming of the remake has obviously been put on hold now that Hollywood has paused filming in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but when production starts up again, the star is more than ready to get back to work.
“I seem to be part of these projects that keep coming back, which I’m thrilled about because I’ve had a pretty good experience,” Bell said in the interview. “I don’t know what the new Gossip Girl will be like or look like, but I’m excited to do it again.”