Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Brooke Shields and executive producer Oliver Goldstick of Lipstick Jungle. Here is the entire transcript minus all the thank you for doing this call and lover your show pleasantries, along with one short segment where someone asked Oliver to help out some college theater in Palm Springs.
Lipstick Jungle Interview – Brooke Shields & Executive Producer Oliver Goldstick
Question: I so enjoyed the new episodes that we got to see a sneak peek of, and I wanted to ask you about working with Mary Tyler Moore – you know Wendy and her mom. And if you could talk about your scenes with her and how much of Mary we’re going to see in this particular season.
Brooke Shields: Well, we’re just about to start another episode with her, so that’s very exciting. We’re doing a Thanksgiving episode and we’re having a big family episode. So as dysfunctional as it may be, it’s going to be a wonderful family episode.
You know she’s such a legend and such an icon that I think the anticipation of just her arriving was just so, so high that we all sort of had to work hard to just act normal around her and not want to ask her all these questions about (the iconic) career that she’s had.
And – but it was – the scenes themselves are so layered with so many different emotions. And they are all so very – they are very real and they are very – they strike such a chord I think in so many people – so to be able to play all those different levels. For instance in the next – in the upcoming episode, there is that same – you know there’s a great deal of tension, but there’s also a great deal of respect between the two of them. And yet I think that they could probably (hurt) each other more than anyone can.
They are (fated by their) similarities and they also – Wendy is trying to celebrate (her differences). And I think her mom is a bit more resistant to that because where I’m not like her is wrong according to my mom in the show.
Q: I need to – the storyline is obviously – I don’t want to give away. I don’t know how much I can say. I don’t want to give away because the season opening is a shocker. But the thorn in her side, the pregnant thorn in her side – we’ll just talk in vague terms. How far along into the season is that particular layer of the story going to go?
Oliver Goldstick: We delve into it pretty deeply. Again, without wanting to give away too much, but much of the objective for Nico this season was the questions we sort of raised last season. Things about – at one point in the last season, Wendy had said, “So it’s a good thing you’re not a mother because your values are questionable to pass on to a child.”
And it’s interesting because we’ll be exploring some of that this season. And Nico also – as much as this journey is about what happens when you turn a fantasy into reality and that’s regarding the younger lover that she has.
Goldstick: Again, we had a fantasy element last year – all about – (there was an affair, which was elicit), and she’ll have an opportunity to make that legitimate. And that’s fraught with all the difficulties that come with people who are in very different places in their lives – you know they’re dating someone who is 12 or 13 years younger than you.
Goldstick: They are at a very different place.
Goldstick: So that’s one of the things we’ll really be exploring this season.
Q: Interesting. And my last question for you Oliver is Victory. It seems like the more she protests — (thus) protests — the more Andrew comes beckoning to her, and it seems it’s going to culminate perhaps in a very explosive relationship. Will we be seeing them getting closer together?
Goldstick: Yes. Yeah, I mean granted, we know it’s one of the (dependence) of a romantic comedy. You know we do want that element of just when she’s ready, he’s not and when he’s ready, she’s not and can these ships ever meet in the night.
Goldstick: But it’s – that is – again, that’s a power struggle relationship. And if we wanted to – we basically were sowing the seeds last year. We were sort of frozen in time because of the writers’ strike. Because it wasn’t the full season and we sort of had a lot of (this planned).
Goldstick: A lot of – some of the things you’re seeing – am I speaking to April still?
Goldstick: Yeah April, some of the things you’re seeing in the first couple of episodes would have been part of last season. And because of the strike, we just sort of froze right there at episode season, and that’s fine with us because you’re launching a second season with a very provocative subject matter, and huge challenges and changes in these relationships.
Questioner: Well, it wall sounds great. I can’t wait to watch more.
Shields: After just having – we start episode – we start the Thanksgiving episode today. And by the end of reading it because we had just got it, I couldn’t even believe. I was…
Goldstick: Don’t say. Don’t say.
Shields: I won’t say anything. No, I just want to say that I even went, “What? No way.” So it’s sort of like even though we get to be in it, we also – I find I’m a fan so I sort of has this sort of separate – or I’m just schizophrenic. I’m not sure, but I separate myself and I think, “He did not. He did not. Oh, no.” I have my own water cooler that I keep in my apartment actually and I just – I bring my friends over just to talk around it.
Goldstick: You talk to it. You just talk right with yourself too, right.
Shields: Right, it’s just me actually.
Goldstick: You’re (working as Wendy). (The simple yes), right.
Shields: It’s just me around the water cooler alone in my apartment. But you know what, I could be worse. I could be on drugs.
Questioner: Brooke you’re very funny.
Question: Brooke I wanted to ask you a little bit more about working with Mary Tyler Moore. Do you – what’s that experience like? I mean do you learn from her? Do you ask her advice or what – can you explain a little more?
Shields: You know I try to, you know, just watch rather than ask or – you know there’s a level of – I defer a lot just out of respect and out of her history. And I just try to sort of watch and, you know, appreciate you know. And then I’ll get flashes of Ordinary People, or I’ll get flashes of some of the, you know, favorite moments of shows. And you just think that wow, you know, this is – there’s a whole history here. But I also didn’t want to – you know I want to respect but I don’t want to fawn too much so that it makes her uncomfortable.
I mean, you know there’s that sort of fine line that you don’t want to cross and you just want to make. I mean she has a very difficult task at hand in which she’s coming into a show where – I mean we are all – we all have this second language already because we’re with each other so many hours of every day, and she comes in and she has huge pages of dialogue. And so it’s a very professional relationship because I think that it’s just – you know she has to do a lot in a short amount of time and a lot is on her shoulders.
Goldstick: And can I just add we – you know Mary is really special to us because she represents something for those of us who grew up watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show as far as a single working woman and it’s important what she represented. She personifies something that this show – I mean it’s the next generation.
And Mary, you know, was invited to be a part of it and she didn’t ask to be treated different than anybody else on the set and came into the first (table reading), you know, ready to work. And that’s how we sort of – that sort of established the relationship.
Shields: Can I also add…
Q: Excuse me, can I also ask what you would say to any viewer who, you know, wandered away last year – maybe didn’t like what they saw. What is your hook to get them back this year?
Goldstick: Brooke, do you want to jump in or – you know.
Goldstick: Go ahead, Brooke.
Shields: You can start. You start and I’ll add.
Goldstick: You know I would hope that people would understand when you’re establishing a show. Every series – you know I can name many and I (don’t have to probably list all of them), but many series take time to find their footing.
And it’s – once the relationship – what we had last year already I believe – I came on to a show that already existed and there was a chemistry between the three women that (cannot) to be written. That is something that’s either there or it’s not there. And I think as people invested – what was kind of established clearly in the second season. These – there’s real history between these people and this history (informs) the drama and the comedy. You know the decisions that are made onscreen aren’t formed of something that’s happened off screen.
And I think we feel that, you know, last year was a trial putting us out there. And we jumped and I think that we landed, and I think now we’re grounded and that’s where we’re hoping to basically move on (to some) this year.
Shields: What I also think – there’s something sort of in (modern cities) about the way this show has hooked into some part of our culture in a way too. I think that we – we’re not shying away from the fact that we’re entertainment, but I think last year we were up against so many obstacles not being able to (rewrite) anything only having (seven) during the writers’ strike. I mean it was – we were – to have weathered all of that, it just – coming into a second season is pretty extraordinary.
And what we keep going back to and keeps resonating is that chemistry and is – are the characters and who they are and how different they all are. There’s sort of every – you know women and men. I mean people can identify with – some people come up and they are much more like a Nico character or they are much more like a Wendy. They are much more – you know it speaks to so many different people across the board and I think that that like any relationship, I mean you have to stick with it to really even know if you like it or you don’t like it.
Shields: And we only got to just be – we tempted people last year and now finally this year, we’re actually – the show has gotten so much better. It’s so inspiring to know that now this is – we’re being given the chance. People just – if they just watch it, I don’t doubt at all that they’ll become invested in it.
Questioner: Thank you. And I wonder – I hope I didn’t step on you if you had something more to say about Mary Tyler Moore.
Shields: No. No, I just – I was saying, you know, we were – she was – we couldn’t believe that she was such a fan of the show too already and she wanted to be a part of it. And I’ve been watching some of her interviews and she said, “You know it just feels so right.” And we were very lucky.
Question: So I find it sort of to be really good and very empowering for women. Can you tell me a little bit – you know your feelings on whether or not guys are able to enjoy the show as well and, you know, kind of relate as well to the characters, learn a thing or two about women in the process?
Goldstick: Well sure. I mean it will be a guilty pleasure because no guys can admit – look (I was on) on Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty and it was very hard to find guys who would openly admit it unless they were under, you know, duress and at gunpoint how much they liked the show.
It’s – I have that history and I know that these kinds of shows – you know it’s – guys it can become habit forming. And all of a sudden before they know it, they are (mirrored) towards their relationships or the women in their lives whether it be their mothers or siblings aren’t being reflected. The issues those women are going through. And there are men in this show by the way who are in these relationships that are going through things that our male audience is experiencing.
I mean Wendy – just to mention that Wendy’s journey this season is very much about a huge shift in her domestic situation because her husband is working now. And that was sort of introduced last year because it was very much she wanted him to pursue his dreams and pursue his ambition of composing and this season his career is going to take off, which causes a major shift. It’s the kind of shift)…
Shields: Be careful what you wish for.
Goldstick: Yeah, exactly. I call this season – I sort of – (unintelligible) at the (unintelligible) on Monday nights. This season could be really called Be Careful What You Wish For because we’re sort of realizing all of those fantasies from last season. Things that were brought up are being – they are being dramatized and all the ensuing issues that come with them.
Shields: I also want to add that I think what – beyond the obvious, which is these women are often scantily clad and sort of the beauty of it all and the…
Goldstick: The men are scantily clad too.
Shields: Yes, exactly. But beyond that as sort of the draw, I think the most important thing about the way our men – are male characters are portrayed is that we’re not – we don’t portray them weak. And we don’t – I don’t believe that we diminish them in any way. We sort of celebrate how much we need them and the need is different for each one of us. But I don’t feel – this is not one of those shows where we paint these men as just pathetic, or stereotypical, or you know that they are…
Goldstick: Yeah, male bashing.
Shields: Yeah, there’s no male bashing in it and I think that’s important. And I’ve spoken to the men, you know, about this. You know even Kirby – you know even a sort of objective symbol that’s sort of, you know, this character. And you know he said that there’s a lot of power that you derive from that. I mean it’s different and it’s – but I mean each one of them has this sort of – they have a respect for their male characters because they are not stereotypical, you know, pigheaded. You know the male that we’ve often seen so that we can augment the women.
Q: Absolutely. Now Brooke, have you gotten the men in your life to watch Lipstick Jungle so far or are you still working on that?
Shields: They have no choice. You love me, you love Lipstick Jungle.
Q: I like that. And I also wanted to ask you, Brooke, I really like Wendy’s wardrobe. I’ve noticed a lot of that. Have you actually been able to like keep any of the clothes from the set, or is it not really your style, or what do you think?
Shields: I actually love her style. This season she is changing a bit more and becoming sort of slightly more Bohemian and a little less sort of corporate. And I don’t keep any of the clothing, but you know who knows maybe (one or two) making – (be the) demands about my wardrobe.
Question: Hey Brooke and Oliver, how are you today?
Shields: Good thank you.
Questioner: I just wanted to let you know you have one male fan at least. I love the show.
Q: Guys will respond. And actually, I have kind of a casting question as well for Brooke to start. I thought you were great on Project Runway a couple of weeks ago. And I just wonder how involved are you in Wendy’s wardrobe on the show. Because the first couple of episodes I saw you were wearing a lot of different outfits that were really great, but do you have a lot of influence in what’s chosen and what isn’t?
Shields: I do much more this season than I did last year. We – it’s sort of an amazing kind of joint effort. You know I – the first season, I think everybody was a bit more (pressured about it) and so we got many notes from network, and everybody had an opinion, and we sort of had to satisfy many, many people.
And then I was asked to weigh in a bit more. And now it’s sort of – I’m much more familiar with Wendy and there’s this bit of a crossover between the two of us. So I’m – you know her wardrobe is definitely being infiltrated by my taste and my wardrobe is being infiltrated by the show. So there’s this sort of crossover, but we really now want her to be slightly more Bohemian in a way. I mean more eclectic in the way she mixes things together. There’s sort of a – last year, there was a bit more sort of a corporate strictness to her and we all decided that it didn’t relate to her character as such.
Q: And Oliver as far as the writing goes, I know you have a mix on your writing staff – more comedic writers and more dramatic writers. How did they kind of approach doing the comedy and the drama in each episode? I mean there always seems to be a little bit of both.
Goldstick: Right. Well, it’s finding the truth in those. I mean the situation is – you know that’s life. I mean life cannot be one or the other. And the people who – they are all (adults). I mean this writing staff now this year, it’s more of an East coast. You know we’re based in the West Coast. I met somebody who used to work for the New York Times and was the Deputy Editor of the Style section and her partner is the former (translator) of New York Magazine and Esquire.
And I think – you know as far as balancing humor and drama, I think when we’re breaking stories we look for both. Any dramatic story worth its weight has to have levity. You know we know there has to be a balance because you couldn’t get (unintelligible) with the most traumatic events without having something absurd happen. And you know I – the comedy comes from these situations and these people that are behavioral and character-based. I think it’s integral to the show and I don’t think it has to (suffice) one or (suffice) the other.
Question: This season a lot of what’s going on with Wendy seems to be motherhood issues. Can you talk about the kind of mother she is and then compare that to the kind of mother that you are?
Shields: I think that there’s a similarity in the way we feel about motherhood. Our children are in very different stages, so the daily – what I have to deal with daily in my life versus what Wendy deals with daily with her children is slightly different.
But I think that there’s a – I think – I’ll talk about Wendy first. And I think that she is a very passionate person and I think that she – mothering and her family is very, very important to her, but not at the risk of losing herself and losing what she’s fueled by outside of her family, and that brings with it a great deal of guilt.
And also – and I can identify with that because my career is so much a part of who I am. I mean the working, the actuality – the actual working in my life. It’s a huge motivator in my life – it has been for years. And – but I also have to children. So to a degree, there’s a problem. I never feel truly like I’m ever able to be fully in one place, so I bounce back and forth.
I mean I finished work this morning at 5:30 am and when – had to go home, not sleep because that would have been dangerous, get breakfast, get the girl’s up. I took Rowan to school, had a teacher’s conference, and then came back. You know and it was – then I got to sleep for a couple of hours before I (tried) myself with – and I’m not complaining, but it’s just the nature of the way I don’t want to give anything up.
But I don’t think Wendy wants to either. I think if push came to shove, her children and her family would always come first as with me. But I also think she recognizes – she has a better (flair) or is a more self-realized and actualized person when she has her passion and her own focus in her life and it allows her to have perspective of her family. I mean I appreciate my family so much more because I also have something that’s just my own.
Goldstick: I – you know (checking) that for a moment. But what Brooke has in her life, which she brings to the show, is balance and that brings – that’s the constant thing we’re dramatizing in this show as well in this series. But there’s a balance (professional woman) who has a family. And you know obviously Brooke does that beautifully in real life and on this show with her character.
Shields: And I think there’s also – well one of the things I think the show does, it doesn’t – when you – it’s dangerous to say (that’s done) beautifully because it’s not pretty, you know, but it’s real.
Goldstick: It’s flawed. It’s flawed.
Shields: I’m sorry, it’s flawed.
Goldstick: It’s flawed. I said flawed.
Shields: Oh, yeah. Yeah, so I mean I think that there’s – yeah, there’s that. And I think that that’s an important thing that we’re saying. You know we’re not saying, “Oh, every – women can have it all and still be glamorous.” You can want it all and I think it’s very empowering to go for it all. It’s just there’s always going to be a certain little bit – there’s going to be a cost every day in some area.
And I think that that – you know currently, my husband is in Los Angeles. You know that’s tough for him not to see the girls every day. So there’s a little bit of a cost there, but we work it out. And I don’t think it ever feels balanced, but we’re always trying and keeping the eye open so that our kids- I mean Wendy in this season realizes her teenage daughter really needs her. She’s at a crisis in her life and so she makes a decision.
Q: I mean you talk about balance, but how do you try to achieve balance? Is there something that you use to help you make the decisions?
Shields: I just trust my instincts and it’s daily. It’s never – I never set out with something and it’s set in stone. I just – you know I mean I – it’s a matter of doing as much as I possibly can. You know it’s instead of going on Thursday to Los Angeles in the afternoon to get there comfortably before doing Leno on Friday, I’ve got to be at a school – my daughter’s school. So I’m going to be taking the last flight out and probably getting less sleep. So it’s just – but I won’t miss the school event. You know so it’s just every day there’s a different set of challenges as to – and it’s just a matter of showing up for all of them.
Question: My first question Brooke is how did the Project Runway episode come about and with that, I guess the outfit that won, what episode does that appear in?
Shields: We haven’t’ decided yet. We just got the outfit and now we’re trying to decide what the designer – if he’s okay if we separate the skirt and the top. Because the top goes really well with the jeans – well on Wendy. And the skirt would be cuter with like a t-shirt or a sweater.
Goldstick: It’s all about balance. It’s about balance.
Shields: Yeah, exactly. They also decided to send me the one that the model wore, which basically fits my pinky. So I was like, “Hey, he’s not serious is he that I’m supposed to wear this one?” So I didn’t know exactly how that works. And he’s – we’ve been trading calls with him and sort of – we’re going to buy the material and he’s going to (design it) again in a human size.
Q: Redesign it. Fabulous. And so did they come to you to do the show?
Shields: Oh, I’m sorry. Yes, they did. They just approached us and, you know, asked if I would do it. I had never – I mean I had been a fan of the show, but I never dreamt in a million years that they would ask me to – you know I’m used to people putting on my clothes for me. And then I take them off, give them back, and put on jeans.
You know it’s sort of – that has been my relationship with fashion over the years – wearing fabulous clothes, but really never having them in my wardrobe. And so when they asked me I thought, “Oh, I’m going to have to fake it. I’m going to have to pretend like I know what I’m talking about.” Then I realized when I started opening my mouth I was a lot more opinionated than (I thought I was). And then they couldn’t shut me up.
Q: Excellent. And then I guess what about this show drew you to the part and have you kind of made Wendy your own like parts of you? Or do you kind of just try to keep it as what was written on the page?
Shields: Well we – you know we started with the book. I mean I read the book when it first came out and I was instantly drawn to Wendy. I just – I loved her versatility and I loved all the different areas of her life that she grappled with. So I identified with her from the start.
After doing so many episodes and being in that character every day, there’s something that happened that sort of – there’s this crossover that constantly happens. I hear myself say things that Wendy would say. And then while I’m doing Wendy scenes I feel that that would be my natural response and even just the cadence in which we speak is becoming more sort of naturally appropriate for both.
I think that – what was the second half of the question? I’m sorry.
Q: Have you kind of changed Wendy to be a little bit more like you or do you just really still keep her kind of as what the book was and what’s on the page?
Shields: Oh, the book. Yeah, the idea that – see the book was only one. The book basically was the pilot. So right now, we have this sort of – we ended at the pilot and now we’re just trying to keep true to the essence of the book, but with complete storylines. So I mean Candace is ever present, which is so wonderful because we always have our voice around us, which is great. And that kind of keeps bringing us back to it.
But we found the thread and the (through line) in all of these people and so now, it’s – I think it’s becoming much easier for all of us because we know who these people are and we’re just getting deeper and deeper into who they are.
Question: Hi. I want to ask you who do you think – do you think there’s more of Brooke in your life or more of Wendy? I know that you’ve kind of answered that question, but do you find yourself going one way and the other and who do you think has the better life?
Shields: That’s a really good question. Sometimes when – sometimes I envy Wendy and – you know because sometimes when you tie something up in a montage, I just think, “God, why can’t life be like that? And where’s the music playing and where am I in slow motion in my life?” You know so I sort of envy her. And I watch the show as a fan as well, so I get kind of caught up into the romance of it.
But you know sort of the deeper answer to that question is the more time I spend in this character, the more I feel we are both becoming one another. I mean it’s just when I – she’s not a caricature at all. So it’s not as if I go onto the set and there’s this completely different tone in my voice and cadence and attitude. It’s very much my personality coming through Wendy. And I think it’s also their writing to a sensibility as well. And I think the longer we’re going on, the more seamless it’s becoming.
Q: Well who do you think has the better position in life, the high-powered movie executive or Brooke Shields the actress?
Shields: I’m going to have to say my life.
Questioner: You dodged the bullet.
Shields: Definitely. I really wouldn’t trade my life. I would – you know I wouldn’t even think to do that ultimately. Everything has a cost.
Q: When you become so involved in a show though, when you find yourself sometimes talking like her and sometimes find yourself liking her clothes and everything, do you ever go home and your husband says to you, “Would you please be Brooke?”
Shields: Well my husband actually is so much happier because Wendy wears a lot of lingerie and I’ve been getting, you know, spray tans and I’m working out. And so basically, he’s like, “Hey, I like this Wendy chick,” you know. So he’s actually – sometimes I don’t think he wants Brooke as much as he might want Wendy.
Q: Well I’ve seen a few pictures of him with you – out with you. And he has an unusual taste in clothes himself. Have you ever said to him, “Well, how about this character for what he’s wearing?”
Shields: No, I sort of stay away from fashion with him. I just wear – but he never criticizes what I wear, which is really good. He never says to me, “Are you going out in that?”
Questioner: Oh, God bless him.
Shields: Which I’ve had relationships like that before.
Q: When did you know – you can stop me anytime you feel like it. When did you know that you could write? And when you did your books, how much help did you receive from somebody else?
Shields: I actually wrote my books entirely on my own. I had an editor, you know, who had guidelines that they had to – that I had to work with. But I didn’t have a ghostwriter and I didn’t have any of that. I – you know I’m not even so sure I can call myself a writer. I mean I…
Questioner: You’ve done four or five books and they’ve done well.
Shields: You know I mean what I did primarily – I mean it was after I finished writing Down Came the Rain that I realized that it was – I could tell a story in my own words and have my voice come through. The editor helped me with descriptions – you know describing a room I walked into. So that’s why I sorted of started.
I mean I learned in college that I had my own voice and I think that was the first thing – whether that translated into being able to write. I don’t think I ever knew that until I was able to finish the full – you know a full book. You know I mean children’s books are very – have a very different sensibility.
Questioner: So years and years ago somebody told me that if you want to have success as a writer, you write like you talk and you don’t try to be somebody else, and I believe that’s what you’ve done.
Shields: Thank you. I mean that’s all I did. When I read – and even my friends. When they read the book, they said it sounded like I was just talking. So I think that that’s – I wasn’t trying to be anybody else. I really was just trying to tell a story as it happened.
Question: We’re here in the south now. Pardon the twang. Brooke, you are really naturally funny. Where do you get your sense of humor from – any specific comedians or comedic actors that you admire?
Shields: Oh, gosh. You know there’s so many for different reasons over the years. You know there’s nobody I’ve ever really emulated per se. I think that first of all, thank you. I love humor and comedy probably more than anything else. Whenever I – there is a scene that entails some sort of comedy, it just – it is so loud to me. I can hear it before I even go and do it and that’s just – it’s just the way I see things.
Shields: So I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do some of it and add a little bit on this show too. It’s just – which is always nice to break up the sort of heavier moments.
Q: Now working in the industry since a young age, if your kids came up to you and said, “Mom, I want to be an actress,” what advice would you give them?
Shields: You know I mean I don’t want to deny what they really want and I can’t be such a hypocrite that I say, “Well both of your parents are in the industry and we don’t want you to do it,” you know. I would help in any way I could, but nothing will happen with my help without an education. My children have to have an education no matter what and that’s my – that’s where I don’t compromise.
So you know if they can find ways to do both, you know I applaud them. It’s a lot harder than people think and it’s also a very – it’s a painful business. You know I would sort of hope that they wouldn’t really want that as their vocation because it deals with a lot of rejection.
Shields: You know you hate to think about your kids going through that.
Question: Oliver, my first question is for you. I’m wondering if all along the plan was for Kirby to be as involved as he was in Nico’s life or was it a reaction to sort of the public based on Robert’s appeal?
Goldstick: Good question. Because you know like I said, you know we were frozen in time, so we definitely wanted him in more episodes. But then again, you have to – we had actually a bizarre advantage because we were able – we had distance because of the writers’ strike (as well). (We had shots) in the (last winter) and they were sort of delivered as a long movie in a weird way.
And there was truly something evolving – I’ll alchemy. You know there was a chemistry between he and the actress Kim Raver that was – again, you can’t that there. There were great instincts and there was a great chemistry. And so I was inspired and the other writers as well to make him integral into the show. And again, there was great story – once it can become a reality, there are great stories to tell about that kind of a relationship.
Q: Absolutely. I’m curious, Brooke. You know last season a lot of people made a huge deal about the Cashmere Mafia versus the Lipstick Jungle thing. And obviously, you know we know how that all played out. But in the second episode of the season, there’s sort of a little bit of a poking fun at Lucy Liu maybe. I’m curious is you were apprehensive about doing that scene at all.
Shields: Which – what are you talking about? To be honest, I really don’t…
Q: Oh, yeah. No, there’s the scene where you are in the – you’re in your office and you’re having that big production meeting talking about the actress named Lucy who is playing Yoko Ono, and that she’s sort of being a diva on the set.
Goldstick: That was truly coincidence. That really wasn’t intentional.
Shields: Oh, my God. That never came into it.
Goldstick: (Unintelligible), Brooke. I think we had to change names at the last minute. Often because of (unintelligible) reasons, that name changed.
Shields: It didn’t start off with Lucy. Wasn’t she something else?
Goldstick: She was – I think it might have been (Lilly). It was – no, I think that was the problem. I think there was a problem with names or surnames and that was not an intentional…
Shields: Oh, no.
Goldstick: Lucy Liu, you know, (Gerald) is a friend of mine, so it was not intentional in any way.
Questioner: So it was just a bizarre, bizarre coincidence.
Shields: Oh, (I’d say, right). Unbelievably (unintelligible). That never even crossed my mind. We would never – you know what, the one thing I will say throughout this whole thing is we’ve never been petty or juvenile about it, you know.
Shields: From the onset, I always said, you know, “How many CSIs or Law & Order is there?”
Shields: I mean (there is room) and we were such a different style and we were such a different show, that you sort of were either kind of a Cashmere show or a Lipstick show. And there was never any – you know I always felt that there was room for all of us. And we would never be so – especially in success to turnaround and do something that petty. It’s not our style at all.
Question: Brooke, I was just curious. Do you have any input into Wendy’s character? Like do you base her on any executives that you know?
Shields: She’s more of a combination. She’s sort of a hybrid of a few. That’s one part of the (question). I mean she is – you know we (unintelligible).
When I first read the book, not one person came to mind. But then (unintelligible) in Los Angeles (unintelligible) that Wendy is a mix of sort of all these women. You know there’s a (unintelligible) of her that I’ve seen in many executives. But she is – you know there’s a – you know she’s just a very compelling person (in herself). And rather than try to fashion her after one person or (as a symbol), I just – we very quickly got (this into the reality) of her life.
Which regardless of the writing – we all talk about it. I mean before the episodes are written, after – after (table reading), we all sort of express our concerns. And you know the writers are all in Los Angeles and work here and we work here and so we have conference calls to discuss, “You know I don’t understand this. (Unintelligible) comfortable or what about this?” It’s very – there’s an open dialogue that’s really made the (unintelligible) so much more possible because of the strike not being around.
Question: Who chooses the music?
Goldstick: Who chooses the music?
Goldstick: We basically have two wonderful (men) at Universal who help. I choose a lot of it, but there’s (Casey Elfensnyder) and (Casey McCarthy) are two (supervisors) we have at Universal Studios. And there’s – because Universal has a wonderful music division, they are always on the lookout for up and comers and for music that’s fresh.
And they make a slew of CDs and I listen to them like twice between New York and L.A. and I will check off things and sort of earmark things that I think are wonderful for (moments) – you know that are wonderful for a particular moment in an episode. I will say, “Try this.”
But it’s, you know, a process where some music is established and everybody knows, but a lot of it we’re trying to find fresh music that you haven’t heard. And of course Jeffrey Waldman. Jeffrey Waldman is our composer who does the original score and he’s, you know, brilliant. So I don’t need to tell you about (Jeffrey). So it’s (unintelligible) – if you’re talking about songs that already exist, I would say Stacy Allison has been wonderful as far as passing on and bringing to my attention new groups, and that’s ultimately the writer/producer’s decision.
Question: I was wondering if each of you could talk about what – your favorite thing about doing the show so far has been.
Goldstick: Trips to New York.
Shields: I am adoring being back home in the city and actually working in a city that has so much character. I just – I’m loving it. I mean it’s very exciting to me. I’ve got my girls here and the show is just – it is so – there is such and energy to it. And it’s a tremendous amount of work, but it feels good and it moves very quickly. And I think the quality – I’m so amazed at the quality (that’s seen) and that’s my favorite part about the whole show is how good it is.
Goldstick: I think for me it’s – (it has heart). I think my story is about people and it’s not procedural in the sense we have to worry about who killed who, and where is the murder weapon, and who is hiding that, and you have to go down somebody’s throat to find that razor blade. I think we’re writing about people in the working world and – who are balancing their personal lives with professional, and it’s great to be able to write a show with compassion and heart.
Q: Okay and for Brooke, you talked about how busy life can be. And I was wondering if you ever get a chance to, you know, sit back, and relax, and watch any TV yourself.
Shields: I do not. There’s – every now – I mean I am going to – I would definitely be that sort of pathetic fan of my own show, and I do like Grey’s Anatomy. And so those are my two sort of – I either have to TiVo them or I have to make sure that my schedule works, but we’re working so many hours that it’s definitely hard to do. I watch a lot of kids’ TV.
Q: Okay and I have one last quick question for you, Brooke. I have a reader from Delaware that is a big fan of Seth Kirschner and he wanted to know your thoughts on working with him.
Brooke Shields: He’s very, very funny. There’s this sort of – there’s this alter ego with the sensibility that he brings and it’s every day. And it’s become this sort of banter, and he’s sort of like having a mascot and he’s really funny.
Question: Oliver said a while back that the show was going to be a bit more provocative this season. What direction in tone and story can fans expect that’s going to be different from the first season?
Goldstick: I think it kind of challenges (some of the mistakes) are life changing. I think last year we were doing – again, I feel like we were sowing seeds last year that we can reap this season. Because there are life changes that are going to dramatically alter, you know, the decisions people make the course of their lives. So when I say provocative, I think they are – again, I don’t want to give away too much because of the nature of the show. In (unintelligible) I would hate to spoil, you know, later episodes by giving away too much.
But I – when I said provocative, I feel like putting the relationships, (unintelligible). We’re going to have different combinations as far as people interacting who didn’t interact last season. You know marriages being tested, working relationships being tested in big ways, people possibly losing jobs. Things like that that are really life altering.
Question: Anyway, here is my question. Brooke, it was 30 years ago when I first interviewed you and a lot has happened. So I know it’s late in the day and you’ve had a long morning, and breakfast with the kids, and all of – and took them to school. Take a moment Brooke and just tell me, you know, how have you managed to come through so brilliantly with a lot of ups and one or two downs.
Can you do – can you give me a retrospective? I know it’s been a long hour. Go ahead, Brooke.
Brooke Shields: It’s a hard question to even answer, but I will say that I’m a very stubborn person and I don’t like to lose, and I don’t like to be told that I’m failing in any way. So any obstacles that I come up against, which you know I’ve been able to be enduring in this business for many, many, actually decades. And I love what I do and I so appreciate the opportunity every time I get a chance, and I think that’s a mixture of perseverance, a stubbornness, and ambition, and just a real love of this industry and the entertainment industry. It sort of has allowed me to keep going forward and I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some quality, quality people that have caught me when I have fallen.
Lipstick Jungle closes out Wednesday nights on NBC.
Thanks for asking my Delaware question!
Ron, No problem. Thanks for sending in a question.