INTERVIEW: Jessica Szohr on how she relates to Complications' Gretchen
Everyone's favorite true Brooklynite from Gossip Girl is back! That's right, Jessica Szohr, the girl who spent so many seasons playing the smart, artsy, bohemian, perpetual BFF Vanessa has returned to TV. SheKnows got the inside scoop on her new show.
These days, you can find Szohr on her new gig, Complications. The show follows one seriously studly doctor on his badass quest to go good. We asked Szohr why people should tune in to this hospital-centered show when there are other medical dramas already on the market. She was quick to warn us not to get caught up on the scrubs and hospital setting, though.
"This story was worth being a part of because it is not just a medical show," Szohr explained. "It's a crime thriller with people living their lives and doing their jobs who happen to get caught in the middle of a gang war. While trying to make sure the patients and their families are safe, they are trying not to lose their jobs while still doing their jobs. It's intense both inside of the hospital and out... very complicated."
"Intense" is a great word, especially when you're talking about Szohr's character, Gretchen. Gretchen hates pretty much everyone. But that doesn't stop her from trying to save lives and care for those who need caring. She's super tough and, when not in scrubs, is usually rocking jeans, dark tees and a leather jacket. And, yes, she's a lesbian.
"Everything about Gretchen was awesome to me," Szohr said of her first time reading the script. "So many layers and little details from the pilot... I wanted to know more about her and add more and play with [the character]. And then, on top of [who] Gretchen was the medical world, her relationship with John and her patients, and how far she and John would go in this gang war. I mean... it was just on the page how much fun and how challenging this would be to play and be a part of."
She sounds almost too badass to be relatable. We'd prefer to stay away from gang wars, thanks. And not everyone is cut out for working in a hospital. Despite the obvious differences, though, Szohr says she does share one major characteristic with Gretchen.
"Things I think I can relate to with Gretchen... we are both caretakers," Szohr shared. "Growing up with so many siblings, I always wanted to make sure they were OK and that their friends were OK. Gretchen goes out of her way to make sure the people she cares about are OK."
Gretchen's main ally in the hospital is John, who is basically her partner in crime and in ending crime. Szohr said they work well together because they're so different and help balance each other out. While John is structured and wants to come up with a plan of attack first, Gretchen has already started acting while he's standing around planning. They annoy each other, but their differences find a happy medium.
It's hard not to talk to Szohr and not ask something about her days on Gossip Girl. Gretchen and Vanessa are so totally different in their approach to life, it's fun to watch Szohr take on this new role. But we wondered if Szohr saw herself more like one character or the other. Especially in terms of fashion, Vanessa and Gretchen come at things from completely different angles. Where does Szohr fit?
"I really enjoyed Vanessa's wardrobe. She always had this funky, carefree, boho-artsy look going on," Szohr recalled. "And I can appreciate that and most of the time really liked her outfits. It was a bit more than I would do in my day-to-day, but [I] still liked her risk-taking. As for Gretchen, she is just much more simple and doesn't have the fashion itch in her at all... I think the black T-shirts and simple jeans [are] very fitting for her. I would actually say I am right in the middle of them both. A little less than Vanessa and a little more than Gretchen."
Want to see more of Szohr or just find out what these Complications are all about? Tune in to USA Thursdays at 9/8c.