I’ve added a bunch of movie stills of Leighton as Nina Ostroff in the Oranges! Enjoy!
Projects > The Oranges (2012) > Movie Stills
Forget about Gossip Girl and Blair Waldorf for a second. For the past several years, Leighton Meester has been the best thing in a number of movies, even if the movies themselves — Monte Carlo, The Roommate, Country Strong — weren’t the best. Now she is finally in a film that seems to be worth it, the comedy-drama The Oranges. She plays a whip-smart, twentysomething girl who strikes up a relationship with the married older man (Hugh Laurie) across the street — a man who also happens to be her dad’s best friend. Vulture spoke with Meester about her new role, romancing Laurie, and why it’s time for Gossip Girl to end.
You did a couple of episodes of House, in which you played a girl with a crush on Dr. House. And now this.
I think the only word to describe this turn of events, the fact that I did that show with [Hugh] when I was 20 and then now got to do this film with him, is cosmic. I’ve always admired him and thought he was really brilliant, but when I was 20, I think I was a little intimidated: I was on his territory, and it was his show, and he plays this kind of jaded, sardonic, macho, know-it-all doctor who always has funny one-liners. Then, with this character in The Oranges, I think he’s playing another facet of his personality that probably no one has seen: He’s very open and sensitive and self-deprecating, and he has a dark side that is really intriguing and beautiful. He’s not like a typical dad-type, you know? So it was very easy to understand why my character would fall in love with him.
The film takes place over a fairly long period of time, and you guys are in that relationship for a while. I liked watching how you gradually became so comfortable in it. How did you develop that kind of familiarity?
Before we shot the movie, we all were put in a hotel room together for two days. At first, we were going through a table read, doing some rehearsals, but then the director said, “I just want you guys to get to know each other.” So he basically pushed us in the room, and we stuck around for a couple days. And Catherine [Keener] was like, “Bloody Marys, anyone?” [Laughs.] So we all got to know each other that way. Then, during filming, we were in a house together down the street from where we filmed. So, you know, you can hear Hugh downstairs playing the piano, and I’m upstairs, playing the guitar and singing. And we would all have dinners around the table. It was just really very much like a familiar home environment. As for the relationship specifically, both of us really went into it with the point of view that this is not a relationship that’s meant to be lusty and inappropriate. It is a connection that the two of them have felt probably for some time; they’ve just never acted on it. He brings out the adult, grown, mature, developed side of her, and she brings out the free-spirited, happy-go-lucky kid in him.
All of the rumors you may have heard about Leighton Meester are true.
The co-star of TV’s primetime soap opera “Gossip Girl” is a serious-minded young woman determined to keep her Louboutin-loving, lighter-than-air TV character from defining her.
Exhibit A: Her turn in the sensitive, sometimes uncomfortably satirical comedy “The Oranges,” opening Friday.
“It’s a complete 180-degree turn from anything I’ve ever done,” says Meester, 26, of her new role. “This fulfills something within myself that I could never find in my series.”
In “The Oranges,” Meester portrays Nina, a self-involved Jersey girl who comes home to her parents (Oliver Platt, Allison Janney) for the holidays after five years away. While there, Nina drops a bomb by beginning an affair with her family’s fiftyish neighbor David (Hugh Laurie). He and his wife, Paige (Catherine Keener), are best friends with Nina’s folks.
“The love that Hugh and I portray is not some sort of physical infatuation,” Meester says. “It really comes across as a relationship that has respect and a real rapport.
“And that was easy with Hugh. He’s someone I’ve known and I genuinely could fall in love with.”
Six years ago, Meester worked with Laurie on two episodes of his series, “House.” That led to a friendship and a level of comfort that clearly helped when time came to film “The Oranges.”
“It’s not like we’re doing ‘Lolita’ here,” says the 53-year-old Laurie. “The consequences of these characters’ actions are taken very seriously and respectfully. Having said that, having known Leighton from her experience on ‘House’ was an enormous help.”
Born in Fort Worth, Tex., Meester lived for awhile in Florida before moving to New York as a preteen. She had a famously tough upbringing. Both of her parents had dealt marijuana when they were younger, and Leighton was born in a halfway house while her mother served time in a federal prison for trafficking.
“From that, I’ve learned that you can never judge people, because they grow and evolve,” Meester says.
She attended the professional Children’s School in New York, turning her modeling experiences into a career. She moved to L.A. at age 14 and began acting. She did guest spots on more than a dozen series, then nabbed recurring roles on a “Tarzan” re-do and the fourth season of “24” before landing “Gossip Girl” in 2007.
She’s now spent six seasons as the show’s icy, privileged Blair Waldorf — and the final season starts on Monday. But Meester says playing in “The Oranges” gave her a chance to explore where a character “came from and where she might go.”
“That is so satisfying,” Meester says. “I don’t get that with ‘Gossip Girl.’ It’s just episode after episode, for six years. Frankly, you grow out of it. Having said that, I am so grateful to have the show. It’s given me the opportunity to do this film and many others.”
The others include “Going the Distance” with Drew Barrymore, “Country Strong” with Gwyneth Paltrow and this past summer’s “That’s My Boy” with Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg.
“Country Strong” allowed Meester to showcase her passion for music. Since doing that 2010 film, she’s launched her own music career.
“The Oranges,” meanwhile, allowed Meester renew her passion for New York.
“The movie’s given me the chance to live in the city and be a part of this wonderful creative community,” she says. “It’s been great for me.”
Meester reveals that while filming the movie in Westchester, she lived with Laurie, Janney, Platt and co-star Adam Brody — all in one house.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Meester says. “We actually did become like a family. Hugh would be playing piano in the den downstairs, while I played my guitar. Oliver brought his kids in and really acted like my dad. We all had dinner together every night.
“I love being in New York. It’s where I’m at my most creative. There’s an energy here that I don’t find either back home in Florida or even in L.A. I use my time here to pursue music and movies. When ‘Gossip Girl’ ends, I’ll be willing to struggle to pursue my music career.
“When I’m not working, I’m walking my dog along the Hudson or watching a sunset on the Highline.”
Or, she admits, there is one more place she can be found: “Back at my one-room apartment to get some sleep.”
Source: NY Daily News
Leighton attended the Cinema Society Screening of the Oranges in New York, last Friday, September 14!
Public Appearances > 2012 > The Cinema Society Hosts A Screening of the Oranges – September 14, 2012
David and Paige Walling (Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener) and Terry and Cathy Ostroff (Oliver Platt, Allison Janney) are best friends and neighbors living on Orange Drive in suburban New Jersey. Their comfortable existence goes awry when prodigal daughter Nina Ostroff (Meester), newly broken up with her fiancé Ethan (Sam Rosen), returns home for Thanksgiving after a five-year absence. Rather than developing an interest in the successful son of her neighbors, Toby Walling (Brody), which would please both families, it’s her parents’ best friend David who captures Nina’s attention.
When the connection between Nina and David becomes undeniable, everyone’s lives are thrown into upheaval, particularly Vanessa Walling’s (Alia Shawkat), Nina’s childhood best friend. It’s not long before the ramifications of the affair begin to work on all of the family members in unexpected and hilarious ways, leading everyone to reawaken to their lives, reassess what it means to be happy, and realize that sometimes what looks like a disaster turns out to be the thing we need.
The Oranges, which premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, is set to be released later this year.