The cast of Gilmore Girls hit the red carpet in Austin, TX to share their greatest takeaways, lessons learned, and favorite moments with Hypable!
Give Gilmore Girls two minutes of your time and you’ll get an education in sarcasm, wit, and pop culture. As moderator Jessica Shaw pointed out during the opening of the Gilmore Girls reunion last night, in the first two and half minutes of screen time viewers hear about Jack Kerouac, Ru Paul, Macy Gray CDs, and of course coffee with a heavy helping of sarcasm. The signature style from minute one only improved, and sped up, with age. Before the reunion got underway inside the Paramount Theater at the ATX Television Fesitval, the cast of Gilmore Girls stopped by to chat with Hypable about what the series means to them and the lessons they took away from working in Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino’s tiny hamlet in Connecticut.
How on earth can you talk that fast?
Coffee must run through the water supply lines in Stars Hollow. The speed and pacing of the show is something that every single actor involved with the series commented on during the reunion panel and to Hypable on the red carpet. For some it was harder than others. English was not the first language for either Miss Patty’s Liz Torres or Michele’s Yanic Trusdale. But even Jackson Douglas, a native speaker, said, “Are you kidding? I don’t talk that fast ever. No one talks that fast. So I had to memorize it and just spit it out as quick as I could. I couldn’t think about what I was saying.”
Liz Torres mentioned that those fast talking Gilmore Girls even changed the Hollywood acting landscape. “Acting teachers used to show clips from the Gilmore Girls. In the new Hollywood you had to know how to speak faster,” Torres said.
But Yanic Truesdale made sure to mention, “[We] learned to speak fast, but also how to be truthful and work to find that truth while speeding away through 100 written words per minute.”
Stars Hollow is the place to start
Logan, Lindsay, Paris, Rory, and all of these characters gave the actors behind them their big break when they walked onto the Warner Brothers lot. For actress Liza Weil, getting the role of Paris Geller served as her secondary acting education. “It was basically my equivalent of college in a way,” Weil said of the role. The most important lesson Weil took away? “I came out with much more of a confidence with what I was doing. That muscle that gets flexed with having so many words in your heard is something that I think, hopefully, stays with you for quite some time. The work ethic and confidence.”
For Arielle Kebbel, coming in to play the new girlfriend to Dean Forester was a surreal experience. “No matter how prepared you are that first time you’re on set with LA actors.” That did not hinder her from taking advantage of the amazing opportunities the role afforded her. “Every time I was on set I just did my best when I wasn’t in scenes to stay around. I would listen to Alexis (Bledel) talk to the director, I would listen to Lauren (Graham) talk about her scenes…and I did my best to absorb it all and really use it as my training ground,” Kebbel said.
Just get the words out
Network shows keep their scripts to 50-55 pages at maximum. If you were to walk into an episode of Gilmore Girls, you’d be hit with an 80 pages with no room for deviation or changes. Todd Lowe, who played rocker Zach Van Gerbig, said, “I learned how to adhere to a specific style of dialogue. We had to adhere to every comma, period, word for word. There was no room for interpolating the script, which I’ve carried with me into other things.”
John Cabrera, bassist Brian Fuller, followed up to add that Gilmore Girls was the only project where he ever saw a dialogue coach on staff. “Their sole purpose was to literally make sure that we got every single word, down to the period, exactly right,” Cabrera said.
Keiko Agena concurred with all of the above and noted, “It’s a style that’s nice to have in your pocket of how to approach a script if needed.”
The relationships are the heart of the show
Within in two seconds of speaking with the cast, one thing was obvious — this ensemble had the rare chemistry that radiated when they got together. They bounced around to talk with each other, spoke in groups, advocated for their top picks of Rory’s boyfriends, and spoke with nothing but admiration for the group Amy and Dan were able to gather.
Milo Ventimiglia spoke to one of his most important relationships in the series. No, not Rory and Jess (although we did learn that Jared Padalecki is #TeamJess)! We’re talking about the one between Luke Danes and his troubled nephew, Jess Mariano.
Ventimiglia spoke of his favorite memories working on scenes with Scott Patterson and said, “For me I just always remember before we’d go to do a scene, [Scott Patterson and I] would be outside in the square just hammering through our lines. You find moments in that. It was something that was a blast and fun. We had ups, we had downs, we had sideways when Scott and I were on that show and I couldn’t have had a better partner.”
Padalecki also commented on the great blessings he has had being able to work on two shows back-to-back that build strong ensembles. “I’m more of a relationship type guy myself so I feel like I’ve had relationships with my characters and the people I work with and I’m just really grateful,” he said of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural.
The beauty of the ink on the page
In true Jess Mariano style, leave it to Milo Ventimiglia to paint the picture of Amy and Dan’s unique approach to writing the series. When asked what he took away professionally from his experience working on the series, Ventimiglia said, “It was the cramming. I think it was kind of like how you treat an SAT course. I have to score perfect, I want to score perfect, I need to score perfect. You have a limited amount of time to do it and it had to be good.”
Beyond the study of the lines, Ventimiglia pointed out, “You can’t just say the words. All the scripts that Amy and Dan and the entire writing staff came up with they’re beautiful pieces of poetry, yet at the same time, you cannot rely entirely on just saying the words. You have to put some of your own heart into it.”
Many of the actors agreed, the scripts were daunting, but they were a dream. “Thank god for Dan and Amy and what they were able to create and write just give us great things to play with,” Ventimiglia continued.
Why ‘Gilmore Girls’ still has a place for television viewers today
When the ladies of the hour, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, arrived, it was clear from the masses gathering to get their attention that Gilmore Girls is not going away anytime soon. With all seven seasons available to stream on Netflix, what do the girls of Stars Hollow hope viewers take away?
Alexis Bledel hopes “they connect with the mother daughter relationship. I think that’s what people loved about it the first time around and hopefully they are able to see themselves in one of the characters.”
Lauren Graham attributes the success of the show to the style and tone. Graham said, “I think it was a very kind show. It was very comforting and offered you, in some way, an ideal relationship but also a picturesque small town feeling that I think a lot of people are missing, especially today. I think that is maybe why it is coming back.
And, of course, Graham adds, “Also the dialogue and the intelligence of the show is still relevant. It still works.”
From ‘Gilmore Girls’ and beyond
From newcomers to veterans of the industry, Gilmore Girls offered everyone something to take with them after they left the set. Jared Padalecki mentioned that the late nights and quick wit of the show helped him learn a great deal, very fast. “I remember going home 4 a.m., 5 a.m., 6 a.m., and the security guard as you drive out of the lot going, “Gilmore Girls? All right, get out of here.” They knew that we were working these crazy hours and I remember having to learn so much dialogue and being so nervous. I mean it was my first job, and it really set the tone like how to work hard.”
Kelly Bishop even picked up a thing or two! “I actually learned about camera work. Having done films and guest spots, I’d done all that stuff before. But having it day after day, year after year, being able to work the set and work the camera, it developed my technique and it’s an exercise that you just have to keep repeating,” Bishop said of her greatest professional takeaway.
The best takeaways from the night
Here are our favorite extra tidbits we learned chatting with the cast as they made their way down the carpet.
•Matt Czuchry on his favorite things about Logan: “His sense of adventure, his grand gestures, and living for the moment.”
•Hep Alien on being able to pull of the ultimate surprise concert for fans: Todd said, “Thankfully there were a bunch of Gilmore Girls fans and the fact that whole thing worked was magical.”
•Milo Ventimiglia on taking what he learned playing Jess to other roles: “Now I feel like I’ve played a lot of silent guys. Everyone’s just like, Milo, just don’t open your mouth, just stand there and look at something.”
Photo Credit: Kristina Lintz and Brittany Lovely