LOS ANGELES -- If the hip teens from fall's "Gossip Girl" sound a bit like Iowans, blame executive producer Stephanie Savage.
From 1991 to 1995, she was a graduate student at the University of Iowa. She taught film history and theory while working on her dissertation, "Star Scandals at the End of the Studio Era."
"I never lived in a town that had a football culture and that Iowa mentality," the Canadian-born Savage says. "The people there were so great to me. I was a teacher there and I had students who had lived in towns even smaller than Iowa City. It was interesting to get their perspective on things and get to know them."
Those Iowan views "helped open my mind," Savage says.
She moved to Los Angeles to do research for her dissertation. "I didn't intend to stay. I wanted to get my degree and become a professor."
You have free articles remaining.
Instead, she took an internship with Drew Barrymore's company, Flower Films, and became enamored with the business. "That was an exciting opportunity," Savage says. "She was an amazing 21-year-old who was starting her production company and wanted to do all this stuff. I got sucked into her dream."
In addition to working on "Never Been Kissed," "Charlie's Angels" and "Donnie Darko," Savage developed "The O.C." with creator Josh Schwartz and wrote and produced many of the series' episodes. Most recently she completed her first feature script for Flower Films.
Now, she's connected with "Gossip Girl," a new series slated to premiere this fall on the CW.
A return to Iowa? You bet, Savage says. "I haven't been back in a while. I miss it."