Get ready to meet the young Samantha Jones!
When The Carrie Diaries returns for its second season, Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) is spending her summer in the city, where she'll meet future bestie Samantha Jones (Lindsey Gort), the cousin of her high school nemesis Donna LaDonna (Chloe Bridges). How different is Sex and the City's resident vixen when she's in her 20s? TVGuide.com caught up with Gort, who talks about the pressure of filling Kim Catrall's high-heeled shoes, how she almost didn't get the role and how Carrie and Samantha's relationship will evolve to what fans know today:
What did you have to go through to get this role?
Lindsey Gort: It was long and arduous. It was about a month-and-a-half long [process]. I got the audition and got the call back. It was between me and two other girls. Two days later, I got a no. They were waiting for a bigger name. I accepted that. That's Hollywood. About a week after that, I got a call and they asked if I wanted to come back in and try again. I went back in and a week later they said no, they're still waiting for a bigger name. I said I understood. About a week and a half after that, they called me said I'd come in that day and read one more time. It was between me and one other girl. If I booked it, I'd leave the next day for New York. No pressure. I worked my butt off and went in and found out that night I got it. I left the next day. It was a secret. Most people didn't even know that I went back in. I couldn't tell anyone I booked it and left, so people were like, "Where are you tonight? What are you doing?" "Oh, I'm just staying in." I'm really racing to LAX airport. It was the biggest thing that ever happened to me and I had to keep it a secret for 48 hours and it almost made me explode.
Were you a fan of Sex and the City?
Gort: I was a huge fan. I actually lived in New York while the show was still on. I was young and it was four of us girls living in a two bedroom apartment, so it was like the four girls of the show. We would watch every Sunday night, and I'd watch reruns whenever they'd come on. It was like a comfort security blanket, keeping it on in the background. I hadn't watched it really since I started working on the show. Every once in a while, I skip over it, but I don't want to even subconsciously become obsessed with how she says certain things. We all change as we get older, so it doesn't have to be exact. But there are certain things that I've made sure to pull from the O.G. Samantha so people feel connected to her still.
Tell us about what kind of person this younger Samantha is.
Gort: She's from Florida. When you first meet her, she's pretty much how you would expect being that type of woman. She's already sexually free and liberated. I think that she was probably born that way. She's very confident and secure with who she is to a certain extent, as much as anyone in her early 20s can be. The biggest difference is that she doesn't have the Birkin or the Manolos yet. She's not a career woman. She's still figuring her footing out and what she wants to do with her life and trying to open up her heart a little more. She's a go-getter and not afraid to speak her mind and tell you what's going on.
Samantha wasn't always that person we know from Sex and the City, so talk about her evolution as you've been playing her.
Gort: The way the episodes go, Samantha is almost 10 years older than Carrie, so she has experiences that I can only imagine. To me, it's burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me. She probably put her heart out there and it didn't work out and because of that, she's a lot more guarded. She's not a puppy dog with a crush and gets hurt. She's already in a man's world living like a man. In that sense, I come from a place of those things happening in the past. There are some walls that are fun because this is such a big character with a very confident and brassy personality. I love the moments the writers give me where you see the chinks in the armor. It's not often you see someone like that break. You do start to see those things happen to her and how she stiches back up again.
Did the producers give you any specific instructions on how to play her or ask you to watch certain scenes?
Gort: No. When I went through all the auditions, there were so many notes. At the end of it, I was like, "Which one do you want?" There's a joke that there's Samantha 1 and Samantha 2. We typically have different directors for every episode. Everybody thinks they know Samantha, so I have to hold her pretty close and give direction as to how I'm playing her and if they want Samantha 1 or Samantha 2. Samantha 2 is the one most people feel like they know from Sex and the City. Samantha 1 would be the younger version. I try not to overthink it that much.
Kim Catrall had said to me that the Samantha persona can feel like a responsibility, but at the end of the day, she's just a girl. That's been very helpful. It's true. I'm just playing a person. My first week, I just had to keep asking, "Is this right?" and everyone is like, "It's so crazy how much your mannerisms and the body language is like her." For me, I just stopped questioning it. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing until they tell me to stop. When you're portraying anyone that people are so passionate about and feel like they know so well, you want to respect it and not get overwhelmed by it. I don't want to do wrong by Kim and make her not like it. Whatever she did worked and I'm happy to take those reins and just do it a few years earlier.
What's her relationship with Carrie like?
Gort: The dynamic at first is not love at first sight because Carrie is a new soul in the city and naïve to a certain extent and I've been living in the city for a while, so she's fresh meat. I used to wonder how two people can stay friends for so long, so even though there's an age difference, we bring out the best in each other. Carrie is such a vulnerable, wears-her-heart-on-her-sleeve-type person and I'm a very confident, no holds barred sassy lady who doesn't take anything from any man. In that respect, Carrie teaches me a thing or two about vulnerability and letting people in. I am able to help her out with standing up for yourself and knowing what you want and what's important to you. It's the same problems, just a little earlier.
Are you excited to meet the young Samantha Jones? Hit the comments!
The Carrie Diaries returns Friday at 8/7c on The CW.
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