Diablo Cody is known as the mind behind Juno's sassy, Oscar-winning script, as well as a chief force driving Showtime's United States of Tara. But Tuesday night (9 pm/ET), the ingénue is stepping in front of the camera for the first time for a guest-role on the CW's 90210. In a cameo that has her gushing, Cody arrives at West Bev just as Tori Spelling returns as Donna Martin, now a fashion designer. Cody asks her to help with a red-carpet dress. TVGuide.com chatted with the writer to find out what it was like to film with her heroes, and, a year after winning her Oscar, if she feels like she's breaking new ground for women in Hollywood.
TVGuide.com: Outside of your work for United States of Tara, you have a lot of other projects going on, including an upcoming appearance on 90210. What was the experience like?
Diablo Cody: It was amazing. I've never done any acting, so brace yourself. Seriously, I'm not good. But, oh my god! I wanted to put myself out there to have the experience. I grew up worshipping Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling, and now I got to shoot a couple of scenes with them. So it was surreal.
TVGuide.com: Were you nervous?
Cody: I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my entire life. I was absolutely paralyzed. It was interesting. I've never been on the other side of the camera. Especially being on a TV set, I was super-conscious of what the crew was doing. I've always been on the other side, so for me, to suddenly be stepping into the actors' shoes, I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for actors, because I don't know how they do it. But now I'm like, 'You people are mutants. How do you do it?'
TVGuide.com: What's your scene like?
Cody: I have several scenes, and my storyline involves the return of Donna Martin to Beverly Hills. It was Tori's first episode back. I play myself.
TVGuide.com: Will we recognize the old Donna?
Cody: She is like the old Donna. There were a few moments where I thought to myself, that the writing was quite faithful, because it was true to original character. She's not a virgin anymore, but...
TVGuide.com: Along with your upcoming cameo, there was recently a New York Times article that examined the close friendship among you and three other prominent, female screenwriters in Hollywood. What was your take on that?
Cody: I thought it was absolutely wonderful! Of course, we were basking in the praise, but at the same time, it was embarrassing, because it made us out to be very glamorous ladies. When in fact, I spend most of the day in sweat pants, eating Doritos. I have never thought of myself as, quote unquote, gorgeous, for a moment of my life... . And I love those women so much that to be in the newspaper with them was very exciting.
TVGuide.com: That kind of media spotlight highlights how things have changed for you in the past few years. Do see yourself as someone who's breaking new ground for women in Hollywood?
Cody: I think female screenwriters are getting a lot more ink than they used to. And I think that's cool. I don't know if that has anything to do with me. It probably just has to do with evolution. I am a feminist. If I've caused any change, I hope it's positive.
TVGuide.com: You also mentioned some of the emotional stressors in the work you do. Is that just the nature of the beast?
Cody: Absolutely. I think all artists are tortured. Whether they're musicians, journalists — as I'm sure you know — painters. We've never been incredibly well-adjusted people. And when you're turning out a great volume of work, which I now have to do, it's going to affect you personally. But I think I'm getting tougher.