Thursday, October 1, 2009

The film influences of GOSSIP GIRL

One of the things I've enjoyed most about working with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage is how much they draw upon film history as inspiration for their shows.  GOSSIP GIRL, CHUCK, ROCKVILLE, CA, and THE O.C. are all filled with movie references for the sharp viewer.

I often say that GOSSIP GIRL reminds me of the Warner Brothers melodramas of the late 1930's and 1940's.  The Manhattan locations and the large sets lend themselves to the kind of camera movement and expressive dolly shots that you often see in some of these old films.  Even though it's hard to do on a television schedule, I enjoy collaborating with the DP in trying to integrate these kind of shots into every episode.  I frequently study these films for ideas in terms of staging and framing.

Sometimes the reference is obscure or sometimes it's pretty evident.  The lighting and costumes of the following shot were inspired by EYES WIDE SHUT, but the shot itself was inspired by the french film RIDICULE and THE LETTER.

I wanted to do this pool shot for an episode of THE O.C. shortly after I saw the Pedro Almodovar film BAD EDUCATION:

The photos below show a shot from the first episode I directed for THE O.C. and the shot from RISKY BUSINESS that inspired it.

I always try to think of images that will linger in the memory and inspire the imagination of the viewer.  The best way to do this, I think, is to steal from the best.


  1. Mr. Buckley if you were to direct a feature film what genre would it be and what would your list of goals for that film be composed of?

  2. That's a big question. Don't know that I can answer it without dwelling on it for awhile.

  3. Eyes Wide Shut is standing the test of time isn't it? I keep wanting to screen that film again and Birth.

  4. Mr Buckley, I'm writing my MA thesis about Gossip Girl episodes titles and their references to films. I'm trying to check how these references may influence viewers' perception provided they have backgroud knowledge about the movies as well as whether the titles were chosen accidentaly, or they were based on these films smuggling some ideas directly to the series. Is every episode written on the basis of the film, or the title is rather chosen and attached after the episode is done.
    I would be really greatful if you could answer my questions exhaustively, as it would have an immence inluence on my research. This is my e-mail, I look forward to hear from you
    Best regards, Marta