EW: Did you ever think the two of you would be sitting here talking about playing Brenda Walsh and Kelly Taylor again?
Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty: [In unison] No.
Garth: I thought [Beverly Hills, 90210] had a beginning, middle, and an end. It was very neatly in its coffin and it was done. When they told me they were doing it, I thought: No! Like something sort of sacred was being disrupted. Some part of who I was and a piece of my history was being messed with. It took me a while to settle into that idea.
Doherty: Early on, my publicist got a call asking her “Would she do it?” I was kind of like, Why would I play Brenda Walsh again? There was an “I Hate Brenda” newsletter. Why would I possibly get myself back into that? I think it was too scary for me. I didn’t want to go back to people hating me. It just wasn’t something that I considered for a good chunk of time. At some point it hit me that this is what the fans wanted. They put a roof over my head. They allow me to eat and to feed my dogs. The only reason I survive is because of them. If there’s one way to possibly say thank you, it is to go back and play a character that you never even liked yourself.
EW: You didn’t like Brenda?
Doherty There were parts of Brenda I loved. They just took her in a really odd direction that I didn’t necessarily agree with at the time. I still kind of look back and think, Eh, it’s not what I would have done, but I understand. Every show has to have that character full of teenage angst and drama. I think she was driven by insecurity that was at the root of everything.
EW: The other day you had your first scene together in 14 years. When did you last see each other before the scene and what was it like shooting together again?
Doherty: [Laughs] Oh, God. When was it? Ten years ago? I don’t know. A long time. I can only speak for myself, but being with someone I knew made it easier for me my first day on set. At least for me there was an appreciation that we’d been through the first 90210 together and now we’re going through it again, but in such a different way because we’re both adults now. The only weird thing was while we were trying to catch up everyone was watching us. Every single eyeball was on us. I don’t know what they were expecting. I was more interested in talking to her about Dancing With the Stars. I thought she did an amazing job.
Garth: There had been so much buildup. Everyone was asking me before what it was going to be like. I was like, “I don’t know. I haven’t talked to her in 10 or 15 years.” I had that tension and I started to let it get to me. Is she going to be nice? Is it going to be a bad environment? But when I saw her everything was fine. [To Shannen] I was going to call you and tell you this—I got your number from Gabe but I never called. I felt a certain comfort too in having you there and I did not think I would feel that way. It was at some point around 2 a.m., and I felt like it’s so nice to have someone here who is a partner, someone who knew where we’d been and what it was like with the real show.
Doherty: I think when you’re 18, your personalities conflict, and then you meet up 10 or 15 years later and the playing ground is totally different and you’re fine. Like Jennie said, of course there were nerves going in. But half of it was the buildup everyone else put on it. When I was driving to the set I was getting phone calls, and I finally turned my phone off because I thought, I have to go in there with a completely fresh attitude and start over and give everybody a chance and everybody has to give me a chance. Once I was able to turn all of that off, the first moment I saw her it was like, Okay, this is going to be good. It was like, “Hey.” Then a hug. It’s like going to a war together. You’ve already been in the trenches together. You learned so much from that first war. That second war, you know what you need to do to make the set the most peaceful environment you can possibly have.
EW: Okay, but back to the fistfight: fact or fiction?
Garth: I don’t think we ever hit each other.
Doherty: We had our moments.
Garth: I just remember being outside and the boys having to try to settle us down.
Doherty: No, we never punched each other.
Garth: Scratching? I’m not going to deny that.