At approximately 2 a.m. on Aug. 8, Gabe Sachs, executive producer of The CW’s new 90210, stands in the middle of a sleepy street in Venice, Calif., and heaves a sigh of relief, if not the sigh of the century. Then, as the camera is wheeled away and the crew starts to pack up for the night, a smile creeps across his face and he utters two words: ”It happened.”
The ”it,” in this case, is the long-anticipated — and, let’s be honest, somewhat feared — meeting of Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth, best known as Beverly Hills, 90210 friends-turned-rivals Brenda Walsh and Kelly Taylor, who just shot their first scene together in 14 years. Getting these two former teen stars to reprise their roles on The CW’s reboot of the legendary high school show (debuting Sept. 2) was no small feat.
Doherty didn’t have such fond memories of Beverly Hills, 90210, departing in 1994 after a tumultuous run that included sporadic lateness and on-set spats with cast and producers. (Enjoy the London theater scene, Brenda!) Garth was known for clashing with Doherty on camera (one word: Dylan) and off (former costar Tori Spelling claims in her best-seller sTORI Telling that the two once got in a fistfight). But after many e-mails, phone calls, and a long dinner with the 90210 producers, Doherty and Garth decided Brenda and Kelly deserved one more go.
Sorry to disappoint, but no director’s chairs were thrown on this historic eve. No perfectly coiffed hair was pulled. In fact, at times, during the scene in which Brenda is visiting Kelly and — brace yourself — her 4-year-old son Sammy, Doherty, 37, and Garth, 36, are even a little giggly. During one take in which hottie English teacher Ryan Matthews (Ryan Eggold) meets Brenda at Casa Kelly, Garth trips in the doorway. ”Owwww!” she mock moans. Trying to keep the scene alive, Doherty grins and ad-libs to Eggold, ”She’s a little nervous.”
Sure, now they joke about missteps. A few days after the shoot, Garth and Doherty sat down with EW over breakfast for an exclusive joint interview. In a cordial chat, the once (and future) Kelly and Brenda discussed the new 90210 (Doherty is signed on for four episodes; Garth’s commitment to the show is open-ended), their stormy past, and why their characters will never, ever fight over a boy again. (And don’t miss our exclusive video from their EW photo shoot.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you ever think the two of you would be sitting here talking about playing Brenda Walsh and Kelly Taylor again?
JENNIE GARTH AND SHANNEN DOHERTY: [In unison] No.
NEXT PAGE: DOHERTY: ”All I know is there’s a girl giving a guy a b— job in the first episode.”
GARTH: ”When they told me that, I thought, Aaron Spelling is rolling over in his grave right now.”