Debra Jo Rupp returns as Kitty Forman

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ComingSoon editor spoke with Tyler Treese That ’90s show star Debra Jo Rupp about the Netflix series, which will begin streaming on January 19, 2023. The actress considered returning to the role of Kitty Forman and working with a new generation of children.

“Hello, Wisconsin! It’s 1995 and Eric and Donna’s daughter Leia Forman is visiting her grandparents for the summer where she bonds with a new generation of Point Place kids under Kitty’s watchful eye and red glow. Red,” read the official synopsis. “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll never die, it just changes clothes.”

Tyler Treese: This show is so good and it was great in so many different ways. I was curious if there was any hesitation in repeating Kitty or once you knew this was being done as you were on board?

Debra Jo Rupp: It wasn’t so much Kitty as the show, you know? Because I thought it couldn’t be… we do That ’90s show, so basically we’re just going to replace the children. That’s not good enough for me. That does nothing for me. It was important to me that life moves on. So if you’re going to bring it up 17 years later, 17 years have passed in the life of this family, and you have to see that so there’s no disconnect, you know?

So that’s what they did, basically, bringing their grandson in for the summer. Then the people who live in Point Place – like Tommy Chong, like many other people – it was important for them to be there and to be part of Point Place so that life does not change. It’s just that some new people have been brought in, and I think that was really achieved. Just accomplished.

It’s fun to see you again with Kurtwood Smith. Since it’s been 17 years, how was he showing that new energy with Red and Kitty? You show that they still have the spark, but age has happened and things have changed.

It is so true! And they are a bit slower, yes. I find that patience is a little thin. We did not want to copy. We wanted to … I mean, I’m older too, so I use that too. Sometimes I lose my words because – you know what? I’m full, Tyler. My brain is full. I’m not learning any other electronics, I can tell you that right now. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. So it is as it is now. What is now is what is to be. One of the events I get a computer and, oh, you’re going to die from this, you’re just going to die. You’re too young, but those early computers were something, really something.

Yeah, that’s such a fun event. Leia has a young actress, Callie [Haverda[ is so talented. How is it finding that connection with her and what made it unique compared to Topher [Grace]It’s Eric?

Well, they are very similar. They’re both—oh, she’s just going to kill me, but I mean this in the sweetest way—a little grim, a little weird. She is a beautiful girl. She is a beautiful girl and they are both really serious about their work. Topher might be a little more serious. Callie is really…she’s a great combo with Eric and Donna.

But there are similarities – the curiosity and the eagerness and wanting to please, and making really stupid mistakes. You know, they have that in common. So it was not difficult to make that connection with her. As far as actors go, that takes time, you know? And so The ’70s Show, we made 22 episodes. Netflix, we did 10. So we still don’t have the same connection as we had there ’70s – Well, eight years, that will only take a little time.

One of the great things about this being on a smaller scale is that it’s almost one big story from start to finish. And on top of that, you get to bond very nicely with the Ozzie character. What was it like doing that story?

Oh, I love Ozzie. Well, he’s just a minor character himself. And he is younger, so he could use a friend. That link, type that in. It’s just beautiful. It’s just beautiful. They are all so good. And we had to run in masks because of Covid, so you’re really working with half a face. And treat them like a champ. Then once the mask comes off, it’s a completely different thing that happens, and they all handled it very well. They are really good. Really good.

The cameos from the past characters are all scattered and so good. I loved your scenes with Wilmer [Valderrama]. How was he interacting with Fez again after all these years?

I was great! It was wonderful. It was so funny. I’m so grateful that they’re really behind this, you know? They know their roots and were just on board right away. They have been very supportive and very good about everything. They can do social media, I can’t do it, but they do it. They take care of him in a very nice way. It was really good. Wilmer is… I think Wilmer is a very special person. It helps a lot of people.

How crazy is it to see just this nostalgia for the 90s? Because of me, it seems like it was just here, and it has been 20+ years.

I know. That’s because you’re young! I know the 90’s were a long time ago. You were too young in the 90s. Were you born in the 90s?

Yes, ’92. Yes.

All right. So you wouldn’t worry about computers or mobile phones yet, you know? Until the 2000s, right?

Yes. The beautiful scene transitions are still back for this, where you dance around. How is this filming? It looks like you all are having a blast doing this.

It’s just true. I’ll say that’s just true. You get to do the stupidest things, you know? And they’re happy, so it’s a blast. It’s so much fun. So much fun.

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