Stepping Into 'Talking As Fast As I Can' Again Is Like Sense Memory For Actor Lauren Graham
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GILMORE GIRLS")
LAUREN GRAHAM: (As Lorelei Gilmore) My brain is a wild jungle, full of scary jibberish. I'm writing a letter. I can't write a letter. Why can't I write a letter? I'm wearing a green dress. I wish I was wearing a blue dress.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Talking as fast as she can isn't just what Lauren Graham does really, really well in "Gilmore Girls." It's also the title of her new memoir, "Talking As Fast As I Can."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GILMORE GIRLS")
GRAHAM: (As Lorelei Gilmore) I should really take my bicycle to work. Bicycle, unicycle, unitard, hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey, monkey underpants.
CHANG: Lauren Graham joins me now from our studios in New York. Thank you so much for being with us, Lauren.
GRAHAM: Thank you. I have a vague memory of that monologue.
CHANG: Well, you are probably best known for your role on Gilmore Girls, where you play Lorelai Gilmore for seven seasons. And for those of you who aren't familiar with the show, it's about a young mom and her teenage daughter who live in a fictional town in Connecticut called Stars Hollow. The town's the definition of quaint. Everyone knows each other. And even after a nine year break, not much has changed in the town. So, Lauren, you got to return to that role this year when Netflix rebooted the show with four 90-minute episodes. What was that like - coming back to a role after nine whole years?
GRAHAM: It was incredibly gratifying. It was something I could never have foreseen. It was, I think, the best match, in terms of actor and material that I've ever had. And after this really wonderful time on "Parenthood" that had kind of a looser, not as speedy cadence...
CHANG: (Laughter) Yeah.
GRAHAM: ...I was just thrilled to get to come back.
CHANG: But did it take a little bit of work to get back into the groove? Like, the hyper-caffeinated back and forth between you and your daughter, Rory - did you have to practice talking that fast again?
GRAHAM: No, not at all. You know, I compare this to - if you play the piano, you're not going to play Gershwin the way you play Bach. It's just in the music of the material, and it tells you what it wants it to be. And there's actually such an energy I get from the athleticism of that language that it's - the sense memory of it is so strong, it's - was at times like no time had passed.
CHANG: You talk a lot about your upbringing in the book. Your parents had you when they were both 22 years old, and it was decided that you would live with your father. And you had sort of a quirky upbringing. Did I read something about you living on a houseboat for a while? What was that?
GRAHAM: We - my dad and I kind of moved around a little bit. I mean, again, he was a very young man and was still kind of - finished law school and then took some time, was doing some writing and, you know, deciding kind of what kind of lawyer he wanted to be. But, yes, we lived on a houseboat in the Virgin Islands for a while and just had a - lived in a number of different places before settling in the D.C. area. And to me, it seemed like a great adventure.
CHANG: You know, the chemistry between you and Alexis Bledel, who plays her daughter, Rory, on the show - that chemistry is really credible. What were you channeling to get that performance because it captures such closeness between a mom and her daughter - a closeness that it sounds like, at least from listening to you, maybe not have personally experienced with you own mother?
GRAHAM: Well, I mean, George Clooney didn't actually work in an ER, you know.
GRAHAM: Like, it's (laughter) - some of it is, you know, you bring your imagination to bear.
GRAHAM: And also I did - I was close with both my parents, and I definitely had a kind of friendship parent-child crossover with with my dad. And in a way, I always thought at the time, I didn't come to it with any preconception about what a great mother-daughter relationship looks like. I wasn't necessarily basing it on anything except what the material gave me and also what I dreamed it could be.
CHANG: So this show is so immensely popular and so many people relate to different characters on the show. Do you have any feeling about why that is? What feels so universal about the show, even though it takes place in this, like, snow globe of a town?
GRAHAM: (Laughter) I think it does a good job in terms of presenting some iconic moments for these women at different ages. Rory, in the first show, was kind of an iconic high schooler, and I think inspired a lot of girls who didn't feel seen on television. And Lorelei was sort of dating and out in the world. And Emily was in her marriage and, you know, worried about her daughter and granddaughter. And when we meet these characters now, the life places to me are similarly iconic, but just older. So you can kind of connect to it at different places. You know, we just all grew up a little.
CHANG: One of the reasons given for the "Gilmore Girls" reboot was that the show never quite felt finished. The show's creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, wasn't involved in the original run's final season because of contract disputes. Does it feel done to you now? Was there a sense of closure?
GRAHAM: There was in that the story itself I found really gratifying. I know, you know, there's discussion about the end feeling like it could continue. I know she said it was always her intention to end it that way - is that - so that the characters can live on in the imagination. I'm not sure. And yes, does it open it up for the possibility to do more? It does, but I honestly don't know how I feel about it. I feel it was so gratifying to do what we did. I don't know. Maybe you just leave it there.
CHANG: Lauren Graham - her new memoir is called "Talking As Fast As I Can." Thank you so much for being with us, Lauren.
GRAHAM: Thank you. Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.