I think that playing Serena van der Woodsen-as-Gossip Girl this season is really taking its toll on Blake Lively: Whereas other actors would be bummed to learn that their TV show is ending next year, she’s over the moon at this shift in her career. She told Bullett,
“It’ll be bittersweet when it’s over because it gave me all of this. I think the best way to describe it is like someone who really enjoyed high school, and is like, I’m a senior and I can’t wait for the next thing! Gossip Girl was so great, but what’s the next challenge in life? Because, you know, six years is a long time. And as an actor who plays a caricature of myself on the show, I don’t think I’d say, Watch Gossip Girl for my best quality of work. But I am very lucky to have had that experience.”
At first you kind of want to smack her over that pretty golden hair and say, “Duh!” The show has always lacked the nuanced satire of the books, and all Blake does as Serena is pout and scheme. And yet, she readily acknowledges that Serena is a parody; I wonder if the subtext here is also Blake talking about herself, the celebrity. After all, people seem to think of her as “the dumb blonde from Gossip Girl who was surprisingly good in The Town.” She hasn’t had much of a chance to make a second good impression, but there’s a definite sea change happening, what with her upcoming turns in Hick and Savages.
I’ll give her credit that she’s really embracing dark roles while not filming Gossip Girl. In Oliver Stone‘s Savages, she plays a privileged California girl who’s kidnapped by Benicio del Toro after her two marijuana-growing boyfriends both refuse to work with a Mexican drug cartel. I was actually impressed when she described how difficult it was to play this role since she didn’t have an accent or hair dye to glom on to:
“To play a blond California girl who gets with two men was scary. If it looks like me and talks like me, how do I turn it into something different? It would have been easier if I’d been thrown into the movie with a Scottish accent and purple hair.”
I think leaving Serena van der Woodsen behind is the best decision she’ll make.