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'90210' preview: Meet the ZIP Code's mysterious new bad boy Liam

March 31, 2009 |  8:00 am

Mattlanter The bad news is that new “90210” bad boy Liam is no Dylan. The good news is he’s shaping up to be more of a hellraiser than old sideburns ever was.

When we last left Liam, he’d been inadvertently busted by Naomi for working as the bartender at her hotel while he’s supposed to be in study hall. Tonight he’ll give West Beverly’s teen queen the ride of her life, literally, before wreaking havoc on the rest of the school.

That already makes him more of a badass than Dylan, but series show runner Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair isn’t sweating the comparisons. Last month, she explained that she created Liam to be an outsider, a la Christian Slater in “Pump Up the Volume,” as opposed to the next moneybags McKay. “He’s an iconoclast, and initially, a cipher,” Sinclair said. “Darker than Dylan.”

Actor Matt Lanter, who plays Liam and provides the voice for another pop culture icon, Anakin Skywalker, in the Cartoon Network series “Star Wars: Clone Wars,” takes five to weigh in on the Dylan debate and talks about a possible new love interest that may surprise “90210” fans.

Liam and Dylan. Two of a pair?
Yeah, I think there are similarities. Dylan was smart, an independent guy. I’m watching the original ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ now, and we’re actually introduced to Dylan in a computer lab, graphing a design or something. They both play by their own rules, do things on their own timelines, and, I don’t know, they both kind of have old souls.

You mean the cars, don’t you?
[Laughs] Partly, yeah. Liam drives this old 69 GTO, and Dylan had an old Porsche.

How are they different? Rebecca said he’s a darker character.
Liam’s an adrenaline junkie. We see him drag racing, and he definitely likes to push people’s buttons, seeing what makes people tick and how he can influence that. Dylan wasn’t really like that.

What do you think Liam sees in Naomi?
I don’t know! [Laughs] Wait, I don’t mean that negatively. I think that he enjoys turning her upside down. She’s the kind of girl who doesn’t let much faze her, the kind that rules high school. He’s initially very hesitant to be around her.

But then he flips?
He gives in a little bit, yeah. Maybe it’s a conscience decision to play around with her, lead her on.  You’ll actually how their relationship develops in the next few episodes and also how his relationships develop with some of the other girls.

Romantic relationships? With the other girls? Other girls meaning Annie?
Possibly. It’s ‘90210’! Everyone’s getting together at some point, right?

What else can you tease?

You’ll see how Liam influences and meshes with the other kids at West Beverly. He’s going to get Ethan into some trouble.

Good. Ethan needs to get into in some trouble!
Liam is definitely going to bring it. On many levels. As for Annie, there is some hinting at something developing between them. I haven’t read anything about next season, so I don’t know how it plays out, but I’ll say this: Liam wants a rise out of people. He could be just teasing Annie and that’s it. I guess we’ll both have to wait until Season 2.

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: Getty Images

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