‘90210’: Jessica Stroup on Silver’s mom, men, and being more than Naomi’s minion
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The ladies of ‘90210” are definitely taking a beating this season. Naomi is being conned by her sister. Adrianna is a druggie again. And Annie is dating Ade’s greasy, knife-wielding drug dealer. Yet the only one I really feel sorry for is Silver. She’s the only girl who has been dealt a blow that was totally out of control. Her mother, Jackie (Ann Gillespie), is dying of cancer.
“This wasn’t something that she asked for,” says Jessica Stroup, who plays Erin Silver on the CW show. “This wasn’t something she was ready for, but she’s going to do the best she can with it.”
When we last saw Silver, she was discovering a seemingly lifeless Jackie on the couch. Stroup says that isn’t how we’re saying goodbye to Silver’s mother. “She has not passed away,” says Stroup. “It is one of those times when she’ll need to say her piece because she may not make it much longer.”
I finally caught up with Stroup after having to work around “90210’s” hectic shooting schedule to talk about the incredibly emotional journey her character is on as she deals with her mother’s illness, her relationship with her half-sister Kelly (Jennie Garth), who wants nothing to do with their mother, and shuttling between the guys of West Bev.
In the last several episodes, Silver, who has enough problems of her own, has moved in with Jackie to help her out during her illness. That would be a heavy job for any daughter, but Silver also has to deal with her anger toward a mother who was never really there for her.
“So there’s this pull of does she go and try to make the most of the time they have together?” says Stroup, 23. “Or does she listen to her sister and say, ‘You’ve treated me so badly in the past and we don’t have a relationship, so I just don’t care.’”
Stroup says that even though she and her mother are close, that relationship helped her to understand what her character may be going through. “I used my friendship with my own mother,” says Stroup, who was raised in North Carolina. “And kind of put it in Silver’s mind of wanting some sort of a great relationship [with Jackie].”
To prepare for the difficult storyline ...
Stroup says she did research not only into her own relatives who have had cancer, but she also worked with a breast cancer awareness group. “It’s interesting,” says Stroup. “I’ve talked to girls who have had their mothers diagnosed with breast cancer. As scary as it is, it entirely flip-flops the dynamic of the relationship.”
We saw that in last week’s episode when Silver unleashed “the binder” on Jackie. You know, the one that detailed Jackie’s daily schedule and medications using a maniacal system of tabs and spreadsheets. In many ways, Silver is almost a better mother to Jackie than Jackie ever was to Silver.
For fans of the original “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Jackie’s death is major (and some say blasphemous). Stroup says that she doesn’t take that lightly.
“With this next episode coming up,” says Stroup, “I really just sat back and watched [Jennie Garth] interact with Ann Gillespie. It was just one of those things when I knew they had spent so much time in real life. They’ve spent so many of their years working together and being in the spotlight and going through the original craze of ‘90210.’ They had this connection that I really stopped and just watched and I was really appreciative of and privy to.”
“There’s this one scene where we’re actually at a hospital,” Stroup says. “And I’m crying. Jennie was looking at Ann. She was holding on to Ann’s hand, then she reached over and she grabbed mine. All three of us are holding hands and crying. It really kind of took us there. I’m just so thankful to work with actresses who are able to be free like that.”
Fans of the original series won’t want to miss this week’s episode. Stroup says Kelly returns and Silver’s goal is to help her rebuild her relationship with their mother.
Just as one relationship might be ending for Silver, one is just beginning with Teddy (played by Trevor Donovan). In the beginning, fans were definitely weary of Teddy’s interest in Silver. Funny thing is, Stroup felt the same way.
“I was like I don’t think this relationship is going to work out,” says Stroup. “It just didn’t feel natural. The more I got to know him and the storyline, though, it felt more organic. His mother had cancer and he just honestly wants to be there for [Silver] and doesn’t want to push any sort of sexual attraction on it.”
That will change, of course. “It’s innocent at first,” Stroup says. “But you’re going to see that there’s going to be some ups and downs in this one, but I’m kind of excited to see where they’re going with it. But I’m having a great time filming scenes.”
Just because Teddy is in the picture doesn’t mean Silver’s love life gets any easier. Hello, it’s ‘90210'! Stroup says that Dixon (Tristan Wilds) will soon realize what he’s missing out on. “You might see some guy fights over the girl,” Stroup says. “It’s going to be a roller coaster ride with the boys and Silver this year. For sure, Dixon is not out of the picture.”
Stroup seems pretty challenged as it is on “90210,” but says there’s definitely more she’d like to do with Silver. “She’s not Naomi’s minion,” Stroup says. “I want to see her exploring her artistic side and figuring out more so who she is and expressing that. She’s a really strong person and I want to see that explored.”
-- Jethro Nededog (Follow me on Twitter @TheRealJethro)
Top photo: Jessica Stroup as Erin Silver on ‘90210.’ Credit: Patrick Ecclesine / The CW. Bottom photo: Jackie (Ann Gillespie) and Silver on ‘90210.’ Credit: Michael Desmond / The CW