It's been nearly a decade since Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw strutted across TV screens in her trademark Manolos, but she returns Monday night and this time, she's sporting a pair of Converse. Enter the era of a teenage Ms. Bradshaw in The CW's The Carrie Diaries (an adaptation of the Candace Bushnell books), set in 1984 — a year that most of the cast wasn't alive. We caught up with executive producer Amy Harris and the cast on the red carpet of the prequel series' premiere at last fall's New York Television Festival (NYTVF).
TV Guide Magazine: Since the series is set in Carrie's high school years, will it be as candidly risqué as Sex and the City?
Amy Harris: We'll be telling Sex and the City-esque outrageous stories like, 'Am I terrible in bed and what am I doing wrong?' But then, the stuff were talking about is coming-of-age — just how important is your virginity? Is it important to lose it to someone you love or do you just want to get rid of it so you can move on? I think that's a topic a lot of girls are thinking about and that's a very exciting piece of the puzzle.
TV Guide Magazine: How did you ultimately decide to cast AnnaSophia Robb as the iconic Carrie?
Harris: We went to AnnaSophia's agents and asked, 'Can she meet with us?' They said, 'She's going to college. No thank you.' We saw many a young lady and I thought, 'We're not going to make this show, we can't find her.' We talked to [Robb] on the phone and she was so thoughtful about the character. I was like, 'Hook, line, sink, I'm done!' When we shot the pilot, she was a senior in high school so she just felt very connected to the material. She's beautiful and talented, and when I'm watching her face on the screen, she embodies every girl that you wish you were, with such intelligence. She's very special. We're very lucky.
TV Guide Magazine: What can we look forward to in this first season?
Harris: There will be great, fun high school stories, some good winter dances and even a crazy Halloween episode. And then of course, the Manhattan stories, which will be going to Indochine and the fabulous places of 1984 New York. We're really mixing it up in a lot of ways. We got it all!
Freema Agyeman (Larissa, Carrie's party girl mentor): My character is not in the book, but the part is fabulous — Larissa is completely our executive producer's creation. She will drag Carrie the whole way with her and it probably will be bumpy and rocky along the way. I don't know if she'll get Carrie into trouble, but I do know that at my audition, the network wanted to see if I could deal with the drama that was coming up, as well as the comedy, so I take it she's going to have some downs and ups.
Brendan Dooling (Walt, Carrie's best guy friend): It's a coming-of-age tale so a lot of people are going to be able to relate to it and just be like, 'Yeah, I'm going through that same thing.' Eventually, all of the core group will go to New York for a party in a club atmosphere — my character will definitely have some moves in the back pocket because I've been researching '80s dance moves. And you gotta expect a lot of bright colors, right?
TV Guide Magazine: You weren't around for much of the '80s. How did you prep for the role?
Dooling: I'm a big fan of '80s rock. It's helped being thrown into it, working with the costume designer and seeing what the other characters are wearing. Now, I'm researching what was prevalent at the time with politics. I definitely want to get a feel for the era.
Ellen Wong (Mouse, Carrie's best friend in high school): The '80s are still alive and happening and I feel like we're already rockin' that look in a way so it was just fun to draw on things that are really trendy right now. And I am definitely loving Bryan Adams right now
Stefania Owen (Dorrit, Carrie's younger sister): I'm a movie buff so I watched Purple Rain to investigate the era. And my mom said she was quite rebellious when she was younger so she showed me her pictures.
TV Guide Magazine: What is your favorite trend from the '80s?
Wong: Super crazy dyed hair and big pants. I would love to have streaks in my hair, but they wouldn't let me do that for the show — maybe for one of the episodes.
Owen: My character has great shoes — Creepers, Doc Martins — so if I could take all the shoes from the wardrobe that Eric Daman [the show's stylist] put together, I would.
TV Guide Magazine: Are you a fan of Sex and the City?
AnnaSophia Robb: I love Sex and the City. It's obviously not on right now, but I love going back to watch it.
Agyeman: I never watched Sex and the City when everybody else was watching it, but I got the box set and I fell so hard in love with it. I keep going back to the beginning before I reach the end. I still don't know how it end and I won't let anybody tell me. And I haven't read The Carries Diaries yet because I like to preserve things.
Dooling: Absolutely. I enjoy bonding with mama so I watch with her every so often.
The Carrie Diaries premieres Monday, Jan. 14 at 8/7c on The CW.
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