A Closer Look
By Susan King
Times Staff Writer
The WB's core teen audience
should brush up on their Shakespeare before tuning into the "Young
Americans," which premieres Wednesday.
Set at a swank New England
boarding school, the new drama revolves around Will Krudski (Rodney Scott), a
poor townie with a loving mother and surly father who gets a scholarship to
Rawley Academy. The only problem is, he cheated on his entrance exam.
But the complications don't
end there. His roommate is the rich but down-to-earth Scout Calhoun (Mark
Famiglietti), who is madly in love with the beautiful local girl Bella Banks
(Kate Bosworth). But a dark secret threatens to derail their relationship.
Meanwhile, the dean's son Hamilton Fleming (Ian Somerhalder) finds himself
strangely attracted to Jake Pratt (Katherine Moennig), a woman masquerading as a
"I wanted to tell classic
stories," says creator and executive producer Steven Antin, a former actor
who has written such indie films as "Inside Monkey Zetterling" and
"The Jake character is
Shakespearean- that is totally 'Twelfth Night.' Most storylines are definitely
Shakespearean in nature. The Scout and Bella thing is just a twist on 'Romeo and
Juliet.' How do I take two people who are totally and madly in love and what can
I put between them and push them apart?"
And Will, the townie with
dreams, Antin adds, is the ultimate antihero. "I always wanted to write a
story about a Will Krudski. He's a guy who almost anybody can identify with. You
want to take care of him and you want him to win. He often makes bad choices.
It's really a wholesome show with characters who, for the most part, do the
right thing but the big sort of aside is, look closer- there is a lot more
Scott sees his character as
more of a complicated kid at a complicated moment in his life.
"He has a lot going on
inside of him," Scott says. "He's the kind of guy who wants to create
a better life for himself. He's learning what life is about and he may do the
wrong things, but he'll learn from it."
The character has been a real
challenge for Scott because it's very close to him. "When you make up a
character everything is make-believe," he says. "But to actually play
something close to yourself, it's hard to let people in."
Like Will, Scott didn't have
it easy growing up. "At his age, I was starting to go through some of the
same things," says Scott, who hails from Ocean City, Md., not far from
where the series films in Baltimore. "Life wasn't a walk in the park for
me, and it certainly isn't for Will."
Bosworth, who, like her character, is still in
high school, instantly bonded with Bella. "I love her strength. I love her
self-sufficiency as a person," says the 17-year old. "I love her
And after playing a character
over an extended period of time, the young actress says that Bella has taken on
a life of her own. "It's so funny from watching the first episode to
[doing] episode six; there is such a dramatic difference because I have really
sunk into it," she says.
Will was actually introduced
on the last three episodes of the WB hit "Dawson's Creek" last
spring. But Antin points out he created the series as a stand-alone.
"I created 'Young Americans,' and only after the fact did the studio and
the network get together and say, 'Why don't we do a cross-promotion with
'Dawson's Creek.' I thought 'Wow, I'm a lucky guy.'"
During the eight episodes set
for the summer, Antin plans to focus on Will's relationship with his English
teacher (Ed Quinn) and his parents.
The Hamilton-Jake story line
will also be very prominent. "She is definitely going to conceal her
identity for as long as possible," Antin says. "The story I want to
tell with Hamilton and Jake is the power of attraction. He is so insanely
attracted to this woman that she can be in a bear suit and he would still find
Meanwhile, Scout and Bella
will try to figure out how to become friends. And Will Krudski, he'll just try
to figure out how to become Will.