That ’90s Show Interview: Debra Jo Rupp on Returning as Kitty Forman

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

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

Tyler Treese: This show is so amazing and it was amazing in so many different ways. I was wondering if there was ever any hesitation in reprising Kitty or once you knew this was done the right way you were on board?

Debra Jo Rupp: It wasn’t so much Kitty as it was the show, you know? Because I thought it can’t be… we do The 90s show, and so basically we just have to replace the kids. It’s not good enough for me. It doesn’t matter to me. It was important to me that life goes on. So if you’re going to pick it up 17 years later, 17 years have passed in this family’s life and you have to watch it so there’s no interruption, you know?

So that’s what they basically did, picking up the grandchild for the summer. So it was important to the people who live in Point Place – like Tommy Chong, like many other people – that they were there and were a part of Point Place so that life didn’t change. It’s just that some new people are introduced and I think it was really well done. Really accomplished.

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

It’s so true! And they are a bit slower, yes. I think their patience is wearing thin. We didn’t want to make a duplicate. We would … I mean, I’m older too, so I use that too. Sometimes I lose my words because – you know what? I’m drunk, Tyler. My brain is full. I’m not learning another electronic, I can tell you that right now. I will not do it. I will not do it. So it is what it is now. What it is right now is what it will be. One of the episodes I get a computer and oh you’re going to die from this, you’re just going to die. You’re too young, but the early computers were something, really something.

Yeah, it’s such a fun episode. Leia’s young actress, Callie [Haverda] is so talented. What is it like to find that connection with her and what made it unique compared to Topher [Grace]is Erik?

Well, they are actually quite similar. They’re both—oh, she’s just going to kill me, but I mean this in the sweetest way—a little bit cheesy, a little awkward. She is a beautiful girl. She is a lovely girl and they are both really serious about their work. Maybe Topher is a little more serious. Callie is actually… she’s a really good combo with Eric and Donna.

But there are similarities – the awkwardness and the seriousness and the will to please and the making of really stupid mistakes. You know, they have that in common. So it wasn’t hard to make that connection with her. As for actors, it takes time, you know? Also 70’s show, we did 22 episodes. Netflix, we did 10. So we don’t have the same connection yet that we had in The 70s – Well, eight years, it just takes a little time.

One of the nice things about this being a smaller scale is that it’s almost like one big story from start to finish. And through that you get a really nice bond with the character Ozzie. What was it like making that story?

Oh, I love Ozzie. Well, he’s just a little character himself. And he’s younger, so he could use a friend. That connection they wrote in. It’s just beautiful. It’s just beautiful. They are all so good. And we had to practice masks because of Covid, so you’re really performing with half a face. And they did it like champs. So once the mask comes off, something completely different happens, and they all handled that really well. They are really good. Really good.

The cameos from the previous characters are all spread out and so amazing. I loved your scenes with Wilmer [Valderrama]. What was it like interacting with Fez again after all these years?

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

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

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

Yes, ’92. Yes.

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

Yes. The stylish scene transitions are still back for this where you dance around. What is it like to film this? It just looks like you all are having fun with this.

That is completely correct. I would say that is absolutely true. You’re going to do the dumbest things, you know that? And they are cheered, so it’s a blast. It is so funny. So funny.

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