It’s no secret that 90210 went through a lot of retooling last season. How much input did you have in that?
Last year, I was really nervous as to where my character was going because it didn’t feel like she was going very far. Like I said, a character that’s one-note is the most boring character to play, and it was very frustrating for me — I think Rebecca could sense that and could see it in my eyes. My instincts were to play up the emotion, and oftentimes we would get notes like, “OK, we have to do it more network,” or “We have to be more smiley,” or “Don’t get too upset, because that’s not what people want to see from Annie.” People got annoyed with seeing Annie smiling all the time!
So Rebecca picked up on that and I picked up on it, and I think both of us were dying for a change. Everything seemed a little one-note until that [season one]finale, which kind of kicked me in the ass. I was like, “All right, here we go!” Like, I’ve been asking for it, so how do I deal with this huge challenge? How do I make the audience buy it? Rebecca’s big thing is subtlety, realism, character development. Annie’s not been falling 24/7, she’s not always devastated and distraught, it’s something she’s processing and going through internally. Her behavior’s demonstrating what she’s going through on the inside, but it’s not thrown in your face like the drama was last year, because that’s not realistic. Nobody is that upfront with their shit. [Laughs]
What’s interesting is that although you’re still the lead, you’re getting to engage in the darker storylines that usually only go to the supporting characters.
Absolutely! You know, what all six of us kept saying last year was, “They can’t make us unlikable yet.” They’ve got to make sure that the audience likes us and wants to tune in every week — they can’t give us anything too dramatic or change our characters too much because they don’t feel like the audience is invested in us yet. Now that we have a more solid fanbase, [the writers]have really found a way to allow each of us to go through those darker times.
The pilot episode last year was all about you. Was it strange to get the script for the second season premiere and you’re not even in it until several minutes in?
Yeah. Tell me about it. Shocking, I guess, but at the same time, a little bit relieving. I was working like a dog last year. It took a toll on me, so as long as the material’s there, I’m not complaining. I’d be nervous if my character was standing out and I didn’t see her involved anymore, but to be honest, I feel like I’ve got some of the best material on the show this year.