Met on the occasion of the Monte-Carlo television festival, Jason Priestley, the interpreter of the unforgettable Brandon Walsh in “Beverly Hills”, confided in our microphone on the success of the series and on the premature cancellation of the reboot.
Allociné: Beverly Hills is a cult series for an entire generation and also paved the way for the series aimed at young adults that followed it. Can we say that Dawson, One Tree Hill or even Gossip Girl were the heirs of Beverly Hills and what is your view of the impact you have had in the history of television?
Jason Priestley: When you say it like that, I feel like I had a huge impact on the history of television [rires]. But you’re right, Beverly Hills 90210 was one of the first series designed and marketed directly for young people. In this sense, it is a series that changed the television landscape and paved the way for all these series but also for a myriad of others.
Personally, I feel like Beverly Hills 90210 will always have a place in television history, but I don’t think my role stands out from the show. I was just a link in the chain.
You have a great career as an actor, director or producer. Isn’t it a bit frustrating to still be associated with the character Brandon Walsh?
No, I don’t mind at all. As you said, Beverly Hills 90210 was a very important series in the history of television. It was a global phenomenon that touched people in a rare way. Many people will always identify with me thanks to this character. It’s fine and I have no problem with it. On the contrary, I feel incredibly lucky to have had this experience and to have participated in this series. Very few actors have the opportunity to star in such a popular and long-running series. And for me, this experience has been a blessing.
In BH90210, which is a kind of metafiction, you sort of play your own role. How did you live this experience and in particular the fact of finding the whole team after so many years?
The reboot was complicated and we knew it was going to be. Doing a fake reality TV show using our real names but with characters that aren’t real was bound to be a particularly tricky high-flying act. I had the impression that the series was both successful and unsuccessful. But that being said, the filming experience was good. Working with all my classmates again was fun and we all had a great time together.
You know, I feel like the show suffered because there were too many roosters in the barnyard. Everyone wanted to run the show and ultimately too many people were running it. To attempt something so different and off the beaten track, it would have taken one person with a very clear vision of what this project should be. There were just too many people to make all the decisions but the experience itself was fun.