‘BH90210’: Shannen Doherty Embraces the Past That Brought Her Back to Beverly Hills

Brian Bowen Smith/FOX

BH90210 ends its six-episode run tonight with the entire gang in need of some megaburgers and hugs. The pilot has wrapped, relationships have uncertain futures and the fate of the show basically hangs in the hands of Emily Valentine.

It’s been a wild ride and who knows if it will be back, but for now, we are just thrilled to have gotten the chance to hang with the Peach Pit posse and have the kind of summer fun fans had back when it was all about the Beverly Hills Beach Club.

Before the show premiered, we talked with Shannen Doherty about the non-reboot revival and her feelings about returning to the zip code that started it all. And just like Brenda Walsh, she was awesome.

OK, first off, I have been Team Brenda forever.

Shannen Doherty [Laughs] Well, that’s just because you have superior, excellent taste!

Seriously, the scene with you, Luke Perry and Jennie Garth in the park when Dylan and Kelly told Brenda they’d hooked up? “I hate you both. Never talk to me again.” That was a defining moment in my life. I regularly use that line on people.

OK! [Laughs] It was a big moment for me to, I really took it personally. I took it very personal, that I/Brenda was losing her boyfriend to her best friend. When I was doing that scene, I was like “Oh my God, this is the worst, this is so terrible.” Like, you can’t trust your boyfriend. You can’t trust your best friend. It was pretty devastating. So I’m with you, that scene is everything to me.

You originally weren’t attached to BH90210, right?

I came in a day late but it caught my attention quite early, when they first starting talks about it. They approached me and at the time for me it just wasn’t… I couldn’t wrap my head around going back there. Especially considering I had already done The CW’s 90210 reboot. So it was about three weeks or a month after Luke passed away, that I joined up.

Did his passing change your perspective and mind about things?

Yeah, I mean 100 percent that was a pivotal moment of being “OK, I can play this character again.” And for lots of reasons. A) to honor Luke, who was very important to me and to honor his memories to the show. And B) to sort of be gathered together in Vancouver working as a family remembering the person that we all lost. We all lost him, not just one of us. We all did. So yes, when I started thinking about it, I was like “OK, it’s there, it’s black and white.”

What do you think of the scripted version of Shannen?

The scripted version of Shannen is extremely heightened. You know, we obviously touch on things that are very important to me, like animal activism. I am a bit of an activist when it comes to animal rights and bringing awareness to them. It also shows my attitude of paying it forward. The fact that I survived cancer and that I’m alive makes me very much aware of everything around me that should be acknowledged and to respect who I am. To be a great friend and do whatever I can do to help. We definitely put all of that into the scripted version of Shannen. And she is definitely a little bit more of a hippie than me. [Laughs]

Which gives you comedy and drama to play.

You know, it’s an incredibly fun character to play, while feeling somewhat authentic and truthful to me, which was important. I think that when you go through something that is life-changing as cancer, your priorities are different. Your perspective is different. The reason why you do things is no longer driven by money, and if it is driven by money, then it is in order to give to a charity or help a family or help whatever cause you’ve got. The show’s Shannen is very much along that path.

(Shane Harvey/FOX)

It’s great that you guys are leaning into and having fun with all the tabloid stuff from the past.

For sure. We’re weaving that in and out, a few of the obvious ones and then going with a little bit more subtle ones, which I think is important. Everybody expects us to tackle the ones that were sort of in your face all the time and that’s boring and predictable.

You have all come together from very different points in your lives now. The cast is on a much more solid foundation, it feels.

I think that was going to happen naturally, right? I mean, we were teenagers. We were kids. I think Brian [Austin Green] was 15 or something and on the pilot, I’d just turned 18. To be going through all that at that age and being in such close quarters, working long hours with people that you just get thrown in with? It doesn’t matter if your personalities mesh or not, you’ve got to deal with them every single day. But you’re young and you’re going through growing pains and then all of a sudden you’ve got a tiny bit of cash. I mean, none of us had a lot. More importantly is, you know, they’re opening up doors for you at clubs and don’t care if you are underage. “Come drink!” There are fans in Italy running down the street calling your name. Then it’s the cover of Rolling Stone.


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That was a great cover.

Oh yeah. It was an amazing cover! But it was a lot, a lot, a lot. I think time has [changed us] in a beautiful way. I always say that every single wrinkle I have is a story of my life. It’s a chapter, that wrinkle by my eye is chapter 10 and there is chapter 40. So without those chapters, I wouldn’t be the person that I am now. I think we’re all kind of like that. We have just weathered so much, either professionally or personally, so now we are all here and we all want the same things for the show. I think that it’s important. We are a team.

Which probably helps so much.

There’s no one person that’s more important than the other. It’s truly an awesome cast, because each of us is rooting each other on. We all will [look] up at shots and go “Oh my good, that looks great.” Or “change that” or “turn that way.” It’s a very collaborative environment. I chalk that up to wisdom and maturity and time. We really appreciate each other, we are all assets now.

Last question: The Minnesota Twins. What was it like working with Jason Priestley again after all these years?

Working with Jason again has been exactly the same. The first time I walked on the set with Jason, what I first heard was his laugh — he’s got a very distinctive, boisterous laugh — I heard that laugh and it was like time had not passed at all. It was beautiful because you know exactly what you’re getting, but , but again, there’s also what I talked about, that sort of extra added respect and compassion for each other and what we’d been through in life. So it was great. It felt like normal. Like “Oh yeah, there’s my twin brother.” Even though we look nothing alike. [Laughs]

BH90210, Season Finale, Wednesday, September 11, 9/8c, Fox