'90210' preview: Tristan Wilds talks Dixon's dilemma
And yes, tonight also marks the return of Shannen Doherty, whose Brenda appears in a hospital bed in the preview. But fear not. Although the actress is currently signed on for just two more episodes, the buzz on TVGuide.com is that Brenda’s storyline doesn’t involve death -- “quite the opposite, in fact.” Baby maybe? Brenda does reveal in the commercial that she slept with Mr. Matthews. That’s karma for you, Kells.
But back to Dixon. During some down time on set, actor Tristan Wilds, 19, says he was happy for the character’s gripping turn of events, even after years of playing troubled Michael Lee on HBO’s revered crime drama “The Wire,” and he reveals that things will only get “crazier” for the Beverly Hills teens next year. (A reminder: Tonight’s episode is the series’ last until Jan. 6, 2009. And there will be a cliffhanger, so tune in.)
So what’s going on with Dixon? How does Sean’s arrival affect him?
When Sean comes into town, Harry starts paying less and less attention to Dixon, so Dixon starts to act out like, ‘Look at me. I’m still here too.’ He feels like something is wrong. You’ll see another side of his personality, not just the happy-go-lucky funny guy.
Does it speak to anything in Dixon’s past?
Maybe. I can’t give away everything but it probably touches on a little of his past and what he’s been through. Harry saved him from a bad environment, and they always had this bond. Now Dixon thinks that bond is gone, and he doesn’t know what to do.
How have things changed from you going from “The Wire” to “90210”?
It’s definitely a change of pace to go from Michael to Dixon. (Laughs) I’m glad I did ’The Secret Life of Bees’ in between the two. But yeah, it’s been a transition. It’s a little easier to play Dixon because I can put a lot more of myself into him. I can have fun with it. I’m very happy to lighten the mood up.
Did you watch the original “Beverly Hills, 90210”?
I watched it a little bit. My older sister and cousin were big fans. There were times they would make me watch with them even if I didn’t want to. When I was younger, it wasn’t my thing. I couldn’t get into it. I mean when I was 4 or 5, who knew I was going to be on this TV show? I used to be like, ‘Oh my god, they’re making me watch this show again! Who cares about Dylan and Kelly’s relationship?’ (Laughs) After I got the part, they sent us DVDs so we could watch the old show though. That’s when it started to make sense to me. I remembered episodes I didn’t get way back when. I’d go, ‘So that’s what they meant!’ I finally got it.
How does the reboot stack up against the original, now that you’re more familiar with it?
I love the old ‘90210,’ but this is a brand new show, with a brand new feeling to Beverly Hills. It’s different.
Talk about working with Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty.
Both of them are very cool. They’re pretty dope, seriously. We chill around set and when they’re shooting, I go watch. Shannen gives great hugs, by the way. She’s just a great hugger.
What’s the best thing being on “90210” has done for you?
It’s starting to stretch me as an actor. I didn’t want to get pigeonholed as Michael Lee from ‘The Wire.’
That’s not a bad thing.
No, but I wanted to show that I could be Dixon. That I could be Zach. When I first got it, I was like, ‘Yes! This will change everything.’ I went from ‘The Wire’ to ‘90210’ -- I assume everything else in the middle will be easy work. (Laughs)
The press has been all over how skinny your co-stars Shenae Grimes and Jessica Stroup are. How are they handling that?
I definitely think it was unfair. They were cool about it though. They know we’re doing a TV show about high schoolers and just like in high school people are going to gossip. That’s all it was.
We won’t have a new episode after tonight until next year. Can you tell us anything about what’s coming up?
It’s going to get a lot more crazy. There will be some new characters, and some stories are going to get crazier. There will be love lost, love gained. Really, you have to just watch and see.
Anything planned for your holiday hiatus?
I’m going home to Staten Island to relax. Pass out on my own couch. My dad is cooking up a fried turkey for Thanksgiving -- you know I can’t miss that!
-- Denise Martin
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Photo: Tristan Wilds. Credit: WireImage