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Leighton Meester¬†is the kind of girl who eats chocolate ice cream.
After six years of watching her fit into the finest of couture gowns on television’s “Gossip Girl,” we wouldn’t have believed it ourselves if we hadn’t witnessed it just before our interview. But, then again, Meester is on the cusp of a whole new chapter in her career, and that’s exactly when surprises should be the norm, whether they be food choices or projects.
In her new comedy,¬†”The Oranges,”¬†out in limited release on Friday, Meester is in great company ‚Äď including Hugh Laurie, Allison Janney, Oliver Platt and Adam Brody ‚Äď as Nina, a lost 20-something who returns home for Thanksgiving and hooks up with her father’s best friend (Laurie). She’s not conniving or devilish about it like we’ve seen her be on “Gossip Girl” and in “That’s My Boy” and “The Roommate.” In fact, she even makes you root for her unlikely romance as you laugh and even question the “rules” of relationships at any age.
So, after Meester finished her tasty treat, we quizzed her about those rules, hooking up with Dr. House and, of course, the end of the chapter in her life known as “Gossip Girl.”
When you signed on for this film, was Hugh Laurie already attached or did that happen later? What did you think when you realized you’d be making out with House?
In the film, it’s pretty clear that his character is into because you’re making him feel more alive and not because Nina is younger. In fact, she gives a great speech at one point when he’s trying to break things off with her, saying that there are no rules when it comes to love. Did you agree with that sentiment?
We call people selfish for wanting a certain kind of happiness, but if we prevent that then we are the selfish ones.¬† So, at the end of the day, it’s all about finding what makes you happy, and sometimes painful change is the only way to find it. You look back at a relationship or a painful breakup or a job you didn’t like and say, “God, I am so glad that I went through that. Even if it was hard at the time, I am glad that it happened.”
My character goes through a huge change in her outlook . She’s sort of reckless in her flirtation and how she seeks validation from men and outside sources. Then she finds a true connection with David, but it might not necessarily be just about him. It’s about her and finding a pathway back to her family and peace with them, and to stop running from anything ‚Äď you need to stop and face your problems, face your fears.
Speaking of outlook, how are you feeling about the looming end of “Gossip Girl?”
How would you like to see Blair’s story end?
You know if there’s a cliff hanger, you’re going to be stuck answering the “Gossip Girl” movie question for decades.
I guess everyone else’s happy ending would probably be that she ends up marrying Chuck. But I don’t know the answer.
“The Oranges” definitely seems like the first page of a new chapter for you. What’s an ideal role or direction you’d like to see your career go?
I have actually read quite a few good scripts lately, which is rare. I would like to continue doing movies and that’s pretty much all I can say. I don’t have an ideal role because my ideal is doing a different role every time I work. I just want to be challenged ‚Äď so probably not play a rich girl for a while.
Source: Next Movie
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In her new movie, this ‘Gossip Girl” plays a Jersey girl who falls for Hugh LauriAll of the rumors you may have heard about¬†Leighton Meester¬†are true.
The co-star of TV‚Äôs primetime soap opera ‚ÄúGossip Girl‚ÄĚ is a serious-minded young woman determined to keep her Louboutin-loving, lighter-than-air TV character from defining her.
Exhibit A: Her turn in the sensitive, sometimes uncomfortably satirical comedy ‚ÄúThe Oranges,‚ÄĚ opening Friday.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a complete 180-degree turn from anything I‚Äôve ever done,‚ÄĚ says Meester, 26, of her new role. ‚ÄúThis fulfills something within myself that I could never find in my series.‚ÄĚ
In ‚ÄúThe Oranges,‚ÄĚ Meester portrays Nina, a self-involved Jersey girl who comes home to her parents (Oliver Platt, Allison Janney) for the holidays after five years away. While there, Nina drops a bomb by beginning an affair with her family‚Äôs fiftyish neighbor David (Hugh Laurie). He and his wife, Paige (Catherine Keener), are best friends with Nina‚Äôs folks.
‚ÄúThe love that Hugh and I portray is not some sort of physical infatuation,‚ÄĚ Meester says. ‚ÄúIt really comes across as a relationship that has respect and a real rapport.
‚ÄúAnd that was easy with Hugh. He‚Äôs someone I‚Äôve known and I genuinely could fall in love with.‚ÄĚ
Six years ago, Meester worked with Laurie on two episodes of his series, ‚ÄúHouse.‚ÄĚ That led to a friendship and a level of comfort that clearly helped when time came to film ‚ÄúThe Oranges.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not like we‚Äôre doing ‚ÄėLolita‚Äô here,‚ÄĚ says the 53-year-old Laurie. ‚ÄúThe consequences of these characters‚Äô actions are taken very seriously and respectfully. Having said that, having known Leighton from her experience on ‚ÄėHouse‚Äô was an enormous help.‚ÄĚ
Born in Fort Worth, Tex., Meester lived for awhile in Florida before moving to New York as a preteen. She had a famously tough upbringing. Both of her parents had dealt marijuana when they were younger, and Leighton was born in a halfway house while her mother served time in a federal prison for trafficking.
‚ÄúFrom that, I‚Äôve learned that you can never judge people, because they grow and evolve,‚ÄĚ Meester says.
She attended the professional Children‚Äôs School in New York, turning her modeling experiences into a career. She moved to L.A. at age 14 and began acting. She did guest spots on more than a dozen series, then nabbed recurring roles on a ‚ÄúTarzan‚ÄĚ re-do and the fourth season of ‚Äú24‚ÄĚ before landing ‚ÄúGossip Girl‚ÄĚ in 2007.
She‚Äôs now spent six seasons as the show‚Äôs icy, privileged Blair Waldorf ‚ÄĒ and the final season starts on Monday. But Meester says playing in ‚ÄúThe Oranges‚ÄĚ gave her a chance to explore where a character ‚Äúcame from and where she might go.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThat is so satisfying,‚ÄĚ Meester says. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt get that with ‚ÄėGossip Girl.‚Äô It‚Äôs just episode after episode, for six years. Frankly, you grow out of it. Having said that, I am so grateful to have the show. It‚Äôs given me the opportunity to do this film and many others.‚ÄĚ
The others include ‚ÄúGoing the Distance‚ÄĚ with Drew Barrymore, ‚ÄúCountry Strong‚ÄĚ with Gwyneth Paltrow and this past summer‚Äôs ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs My Boy‚ÄĚ with Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg.
‚ÄúCountry Strong‚ÄĚ allowed Meester to showcase her passion for music. Since doing that 2010 film, she‚Äôs launched her own music career.
‚ÄúThe Oranges,‚ÄĚ meanwhile, allowed Meester renew her passion for New York.
‚ÄúThe movie‚Äôs given me the chance to live in the city and be a part of this wonderful creative community,‚ÄĚ she says. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs been great for me.‚ÄĚ
Meester reveals that while filming the movie in Westchester, she lived with Laurie, Janney, Platt and co-star Adam Brody ‚ÄĒ all in one house.
‚ÄúIt was a wonderful experience,‚ÄĚ Meester says. ‚ÄúWe actually did become like a family. Hugh would be playing piano in the den downstairs, while I played my guitar. Oliver brought his kids in and really acted like my dad. We all had dinner together every night.
‚ÄúI love being in New York. It‚Äôs where I‚Äôm at my most creative. There‚Äôs an energy here that I don‚Äôt find either back home in Florida or even in L.A. I use my time here to pursue music and movies. When ‚ÄėGossip Girl‚Äô ends, I‚Äôll be willing to struggle to pursue my music career.
‚ÄúWhen I‚Äôm not working, I‚Äôm walking my dog along the Hudson or watching a sunset on the Highline.‚ÄĚ
Or, she admits, there is one more place she can be found: ‚ÄúBack at my one-room apartment to get some sleep.‚ÄĚ
Source:¬†NY Daily News
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For someone facing major career upheaval, Leighton Meester is cool, calm, and collected. To most, Meester is synonymous with Blair Waldorf, the almighty overlord of the Upper East Side on¬†Gossip Girl. While fans have been emotionally preparing for the harsh reality of the show‚Äôs final season, Meester‚Äôs focus is squarely on her future. In her new film¬†The Oranges¬†Meester plays Nina, a globetrotting party girl from New Jersey who returns home and gets tangled up in a scandalous affair with her father‚Äôs best friend, played by Hugh Laurie. We recently sat down with Meester to talk about the film, life after¬†Gossip Girl,¬†and Blake Lively‚Äôs wedding, obviously.
The Oranges¬†deals with finding happiness in unexpected ways and places. How do you relate to that and what does happiness mean to you?
I think happiness comes in many forms. I think this film explores that in a really interesting and approachable way. Sometimes catastrophic and seemingly awful things have to happen before you can truly understand your growth and what happiness means. I think that a really good example is David is in a relationship that he‚Äôs not happy in, and Nina is traveling around and with all the wrong people doing all the wrong things to try to escape her home, and she had to go home to find what she truly wanted and he had to end a marriage that was comfortable in order to find happiness and things can‚Äôt always stay the same. Change is actually what brings happiness the most because if you‚Äôre staying the same and you want to find happiness in your situation and you‚Äôre not, you need a change.
Hugh Laurie is obviously quite a few years older than you. Was it at all uncomfortable approaching those romantic scenes?
West Orange, New Jersey plays a pretty large role itself in this movie just as New York plays a massive role in¬†Gossip Girl. How did working off these two locations inform your role and how were these experiences different?
Few people did.
The last season of¬†Gossip Girl¬†is coming up. Have you filmed the final episode yet?
That‚Äôs exciting. Do you feel any trepidation approaching the last episode?
Do you know how¬† you want Blair to end up?
What do you think you‚Äôll miss the most about being on set and being involved in that project?
What are your post-Gossip Girl plans?
I think that‚Äôs it, unless you want to talk about Blake Lively‚Äôs wedding.
Yes! How did you know?
Can you comment at all on Blake‚Äôs wedding?
We‚Äôre not allowed. I had to ask!
Source: Bullet Media
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The two characters, played by Hugh Laurie and Leighton Meester, are heavily interrogated by Allison Janney’s Carol Ostroff.
I’ve added new filming photos of Leighton Meester onlocation of “Gossip Girl” final season in New York City on October 1, 2012.
Edited: Added more high quality photos to the gallery!