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THE SUNDAY CONVERSATION

Sounds like teen spirit

November 23, 2008|Choire Sicha | Sicha is a freelance writer.

Josh Schwartz is the creator of NBC's "Chuck" and the CW's "Gossip Girl." He created Fox's "The O.C.," which closed shop in 2007. He is also the creator of "Rockville, CA," which will air on TheWB.com in 2009.

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What's the most important thing a man can learn in high school?

"It won't all be this painful." For some reason that just stays with me. A part of me will always feel like that guy I was in high school.

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Ugh.

Yeah! On one hand, you just care more about everything. Every song you hear, movie you see, has the chance to change and uproot and inspire you. There's a lot of good that comes too. . . . But pain is good! It's what fuels us.

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So that's your prime motivator?

I would hardly say I'm tortured. But I remember distinctly someone's birthday party in seventh grade and Guns N' Roses' "Patience" came on. It was a musical cue I was not a part of -- everyone was making out with each other and I thought: When did I miss out? Standing around watching everyone have a great time. I'm still trying to get back to that party, I guess.

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Would you rather be in school today or back in the early '90s?

School today seems kind of terrifying. I only know from what I see on "Gossip Girl." But it sure seems like they grow up fast. I can't imagine. But growing up in the early '90s was an interesting time. It felt in a way there was this music scene happening. . . . There was a lot of idealism then -- well, it's similar to what it's like now.

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Except now they have coke.

Oh, they had that then.

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How was it that the celebrity industrial complex made characters in the tabloids of the cast of "Gossip Girl"?

It's a mystery! I experienced it on "The O.C." It was surprising. Now it's happened to the "Gossip Girl" cast in a way that feels -- I don't know if it's because they're in New York, the media capital, the magnifying glass on the magnifying glass. The cast had to adjust to paparazzi outside their apartments and trailers. I'm happy for them and it's well deserved.

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There's only so many slots -- so the cast of "90210" didn't make it.

They're young. There's time.

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Similarly, as you said, they made hay of the cast of "The O.C." And what those two facts have in common is you.

True. I'm very fortunate. I work with great casting directors. We spend a lot of time in the casting process and fighting for them and they feel exciting and specific. . . . We must have seen 5,000 actors for Chuck before Zach walked in.

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What do you think ["Gossip Girl's"] Taylor Momsen will be doing in 20 years?

I think acting. Acting, singing -- hopefully, Season 22 of "Gossip Girl." Just kidding! She's an unbelievably precocious and talented -- she's 15! She's that poised and talented.

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Hey, what will you be doing in 20 years?

Hopefully what I'm doing now? Different kinds of things, but I love what I do. Producing TV, film -- and who knows what this whole Internet Web series world will be? The Web series we're doing now is not the future but TV as it stands now is not the future.

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Someday the money will come crashing down.

Well, I think it's funny. There's a lot of talk about ratings, and ratings being down. And it's true. Obviously the audience gets more fractured. But I do think more people are listening to more kinds of music in many different ways. It's not the music business that's broken, it's the record business.

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Speaking of music, what are you listening to now?

I really love the Kings of Leon record. The TV on the Radio album. This band Okkervil River.

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Is it true, you're writing the new "X-Men" movie?

I cannot comment on those rumors.

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I need a good ending question. When was the last time you saw Mischa Barton?

Oh, wow. Been a while! Ran into her at Coachella a couple years ago.

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Nice! Who was playing?

I don't often remember a lot about Coachella when it's over.

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calendar@latimes.com

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