Lauren Graham Interview, Because I Said So
Posted By: Sheila Roberts
MoviesOnline had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with the vivacious Lauren Graham about her latest movie, Because I Said So. This is the first time we have had a chance to sit down with her. Powerhouse actresses Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham and Piper Perabo serve up the laughs when they join wickedly funny director Michael Lehmann (The Truth About Cats & Dogs, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Heathers) in his new film about cutting the apron strings, Because I Said So. The film is based on a screenplay co-written by Karen Leigh Hopkins (Stepmom) and Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and also stars Gabriel Macht, Tom Everett Scott, and Stephen Collins.
Keaton stars as Daphne Wilder, a mother whose love knows no bounds or boundaries. She is the proud mom of three daughters: stable psychologist Maggie (Graham), sexy and irreverent Mae (Perabo) and insecure, adorable Milly (Moore) who, when it comes to men, is like psychotic flypaper.
In order to prevent her youngest from making the same mistakes she did, Daphne decides to set Milly up with the perfect man. Little does Milly know, however, that her mom placed an ad in the online personals to find him. Comic mayhem unfolds as Daphne continues to do the wrong thing for the right reasons...all in the name of love.
In a hilarious battle of strong wills, the mother-daughter dynamic is tested in all its fierce, wacky complexity. The girls help Daphne finally discover the truths and impossibilities of motherly love, all while trying to answer the questions: where does it begin and where should it end?
Lauren Graham is a very talented actress in both film and television and a fabulous person and we really appreciated her time. Here’s what she had to tell us about her new film:
QUESTION: How important is it for you Lauren to find a character that is somewhat the antithesis of Lorelei and can you confirm or deny that this is going to be the last season of Gilmore Girls?
LAUREN GRAHAM: Wow, It’s not…I don’t pick any project on anything except do I think I can do a good job and do I like the people involved and will work let me out to do it, which in this case they did, so I just try to honestly choose things that I like. Because if I was trying to do something that was like I’m never doing anything that resembles that, then I’d only be in like horror movies and you know movies like Déjà Vu, right? You know what I mean.
You wouldn’t… those aren’t the things that kind of come to me anyway, you know. I like romantic comedy, I like stories about relationships so that’s what I like and I don’t know if this is going to be the last year. It’s such a funny time because it to some degree would be up to the actors and that makes all the people in charge very squirrelly because they don’t want to…it’s like a strange game of chicken where they have expressed that they would like another year but then nothing exactly happens you know. I don’t know how this works like…do they…I don’t know how it works.
MoviesOnline: What’s your gut feeling?
Lauren: My gut feeling right now is that we could finish it this year in a really classy nice way and you wouldn’t feel like ‘but I need to know another year’s worth of what happened to those people.’ You know, I feel like it could be nicely finished this year.
Lauren: Next I’ll be running for office.
MoviesOnline: How was the dynamic between the four of you? Did Diane become kind of become maternal…
MoviesOnline: Or did you guys…
Lauren: Diane is one of the girls and she doesn’t like when you know any kind of like "Oh, but Miss Keaton, you must have” and she’s like "Oh God. No” like she doesn’t want to be your, you know, she wants to be one of us and doesn’t like the I think I don’t know…the feeling that there is some kind of preciousness regarding her or something and she’d be like "Oh moron. No.” That’s her way of endearment and so once you get that and can get over, you know if you’re me, how much her work has meant to you and you have to get over that, then we just had a really, really good time and a lot of opportunities to just kind of sit around and talk.
MoviesOnline: Were you guys doing any bonding beforehand to kind of get that experience of being a family?
Lauren: No, we just were lucky. You know you can have a really wonderful scene with someone you don’t really in life have that much of a connection to and so it’s just a bonus when some part of it is easy because you’re bringing a little bit of the down time, you know, real life experience into it. Sometimes that’s helpful, sometimes it doesn’t even really make a difference, but definitely among my fake sisters we instantly took to each other and would go out and do things and the same with Diane. I think it was naturally a group of people who really enjoyed each other so that was just a bonus.
MoviesOnline: A lot of your scenes are with Piper so I was just wondering in all the scenes where you guys are just kind of going off on your third sister if a lot of that was just improvised or just kind of came up?
Lauren: No, I think the feeling of the movie is quite improvy [improvisational]. I remember, you know, I’m not sure... It’s always tricky when you say ‘It’s all improvised’ and then the writer’s like ‘Ah, what, I didn’t have anything to do with it?’ So it wasn’t like that but it’s like I… Everywhere outside my TV show where you’re not allowed to do that, I’m improvy.
You know I like to have that kind of loose thing and be able to throw in a line here and there and this movie kind of leant itself to that. It’s like everybody talking all over each other. It must have been an editing nightmare because we were just yapping. It’s like The View and so I think it had a kind of loose …which I love by the way…but it had a loose feeling. So yeah, some of it was a little bit added. We wanted it to feel like how it is I would imagine if you have three girls in a family. It’s like you have a lot to say.
MoviesOnline: It was nicer than The View by the way.
Lauren: Alright (laughing).
MoviesOnline: There is a lot of fast and breezy dialogue in the scenes. Is that any comparison to your show and did Mandy keep up with you the way…
Lauren: Oh my God. What!? Of course. It’s something…it’s not my movie, you know. It’s really her story and it’s not…I would never even think about anything like that. No. I don’t know. We just tried to be like a real family. You have to understand I don’t… When I’m other places, I don’t think ‘What would Lorelei Gilmore do in this situation?’ I’m not thinking about that. I don’t think about like…
You know, it’s just I don’t think about it like that. I’ve done that job for a long time but almost that has it’s own…I know that so well. I just know what the sort of parameters are of that job, I can kind of click into that character and I’m not like finding it. So to me, you know, it requires a lot more focus just to be believable in a whole new set of circumstances and usually it’s much quicker. You know in a TV show you keep getting new pieces of information to add to the story. It keeps getting richer and in a movie you have this kind of finite amount of material and time to tell the story which is usually smaller. It’s a smaller story and a smaller character arc and all that stuff so I wasn’t thinking about the show.
MoviesOnline: How is it being a psychiatrist to Tony Hill?
Lauren: I love him. He’s so funny. He’s great. I just thought there’s a lot of psychologists in my family strangely and so… But you know that’s one of those tricky committed things where you have a guy who’s a nut job but I love being straight man to his character. He’s very specific and I thought those scenes were a lot of fun.
MoviesOnline: Has life on the Gilmore set changed since Amy left? You were talking earlier about the fact that everything is so structured and rigid…it seems like that. Do you wish in some ways that it wasn’t the case and you worked a little differently?
Lauren: Yeah. And that’s no secret. I mean I’ve said that. I had, when Amy was there, I would say like ‘Let me go a little bit, let me…you know…I understand the rhythm of the language the way you write it and I respect it, but I do think certain actors are better you know with a little bit of freedom.’ But you know there are show runners like that. Aaron Sorkin is like that, you know. I did a little thing on Studio 60 and it was just so much fun and that language is really musical and so if you add one thing, it changes but I know that world so well now. Like in one rehearsal, I said… You know my line was ‘whatever whatever’ and I said ‘blub blah blah’ and I could see the dialogue coach coming to me and before she even got to me, I was ‘Don’t say Ah?’ and she was like ‘Right.’ So I mean it’s like that.
But there’s a part of that I love because the language demands it and so when that’s the sort of structure you’re in, there is a real…I don’t know. There’s satisfaction in serving that language in that way, you know. You wouldn’t add or change things in a play and I think some of these writers work more like playwrights and they’re very, very specific and they want you to be too. On a show like ours where we talk so much, just the human nature is that you’re going to make a mistake so that’s when it gets different. So I’d be like ‘Just allow some of these mistakes.
It’s OK.’ Because Aaron’s dialogue is much shorter so you’re less likely to screw something up. You know, in our stuff it’s like a long speech and so if you say one wrong word, like the rest of the take you’re just like ‘Oh God, we’re going to have to come back and do that again.’ So yes, I would say ‘Please let it be easier.’ But I’m also proud of how specific it is and how it isn’t like a lot of other television. Without her there, it is a freer set but the language is totally different. It’s being written by a whole new group of people. It’s not…for better or worse…it’s just not the same. In the lifestyle capacity that makes the day easier, you know, they’re not as picky but it doesn’t sound like Amy. It sounds like something else which I think has still been good but so it’s different.
MoviesOnline: What were your impressions of working with Mandy?
Lauren: I just love Mandy. She’s an incredibly kind person. I can’t believe how young she is for all the things she’s done both in music and as an actress and she’s very natural. She’s totally beautiful. She’s really a nice friend. You know, she’s a very positive and fun person to be around.
MoviesOnline: Were you able to do any girl activities hanging out with the sisters?
Lauren: What are girl activities exactly?
Lauren: You know, like pillow fights and talking about boys?
Lauren: Yeah, we all hung and you know we went out and we went to dinner and we did girl activities like that. We really did have a good time.
MoviesOnline: I would have imagined you had some kind of preconceived idea of what Diane Keaton might be like and I just wondered did she surprise you in any way and if so, how different was she than you expected?
Lauren: That’s interesting. I don’t know…I can’t remember now what I might have thought because I just know her a little bit. She’s just…she was very warm and she took a very kind interest in me that was like better than I could have hoped for and just was open. I think if I had any expectation, it’s that someone who has lived their life so much in the public eye would be very secretive or you know that it’s…I always feel very respectful of someone who has been so successful for such a long time. So
I don’t want to be, ‘So, Warren Beatty? Go!’ You know I never ever ask anybody questions about like…even like what was it like…I just get shy about that, like I don’t want to do that, you know, but she would kind of talk. You know, she talked about her life like you would want any person you’re working with to so it wasn’t …and we got to go to her birthday party. It was just really fun to get to know her a little bit.
MoviesOnline: I was wondering if you could talk about some of your future projects. Also, if this is the last season of Gilmore Girls, do you look forward to having a lot more free time and what are you going to do with that?
Lauren: Oh my God, I am so tired from these seven years I can’t even tell you. Okay, so there was this. This was one of my upcoming projects. Now it’s here. Then I did Evan Almighty which is going to be the hugest movie ever, but no pressure, and that was really, really fun and that to me is like… I’ve never been in like a big fancy movie like that where like my trailer and Morgan Freeman’s trailer were about the same.
Like it was crazy, you know, the incredible technical ability of every single person there. I mean we had the best camera people, the best animal trainers, the best…you know, it’s all people who are at the top of their craft and it’s truly humbling and so that is exciting. And if it’s the end of the show, I don’t even know what I’ll do with myself.
I mean now I’m so used to like a 12-hour day is like nothing to me so that’s good in some ways, but I’m sure there’ll be a strange transition of what happens next. I have learned so much about every aspect of television, I feel like what I would like to do next is have a stronger creative hand in what I would like to do. I would like to be a producer of the next thing I do. I have a little more knowledge about people I would like to work with.
You know it’s kind of an exciting thought to imagine what the next thing would be. Probably it won’t last a year because it’s an accident when a show stays on the air certainly as long as we’ve been on and you see all these wonderful people… I mean Julia Louis Dreyfuss had a couple of shows before this. One kind of ---- it’s just a strange chemistry when all of that can come together. But I would hope to, not right away but eventually, do another show and do more movies and just keep doing stuff?
MoviesOnline: You’d go back to television?
Lauren: Yeah. I would love…I love television. I don’t like working this hard exactly but then I think it’s important you build the great ensemble, you know. But I just like what’s happening in comedy, like I love the show 30 Rock. I think it’s just such a smart show. It would probably be a half hour would be the next thing I would like to do. It’s just fun to think about.
MoviesOnline: What about travel? Are there any trips you’ve been intending to take?
Lauren: There’s like ten, there’s so many. I really wanted to go to Ireland, you know. I have family history in Ireland and although everybody keeps losing all the birth certificates and nobody knows exactly where we’re from. (laughter) That’s very my family. But yeah, I really wanted to go to Ireland…there’s so many trips…name like any place in the world and I’ve wanted to go there, but I also really like to work so it hasn’t been…
I get squirrelly after three days in Hawaii like ‘Now what do we do? I don’t understand. What do you mean like we just sit here more? There’s more sitting?’ (Laughter) But there’s like… you know, I used to read all the time, now I just like I fall asleep so there’s a lot of things. (Laughter) Well I’m tired, I’m really tired, so you know it’ll be a change. It’ll be good.
MoviesOnline: Was Carell fun to work with?
Lauren: He’s the best and just a very nice person so you don’t get any like…I don’t know…I’ve never worked with like kookie comedian where you’re like "Oh shhh!” But he’s not like that. He’s not, you know. What he likes is the smaller kind of subtler way and I don’t think he feels compelled to be on.
MoviesOnline: Diane Keaton’s birthday party? Go!
Lauren: Um, Okay, it was totally beautiful. It was at the Mondrian I…apparently Jack Nicholson was there, I didn’t see him. I was there. We had a great time. It was like indoor outdoor. She looked beautiful, you know. I mean what can I tell you without really telling you anything. There was all sorts of scandal but I can’t talk about it. I mean there wasn’t any scandal really.
MoviesOnline: Did the cast get her a gift?
Lauren: Yes, oh God. Now I’m embarrassed. I thought about this today because apparently I think it’s her birthday. Is everybody supposed to know that? Okay. Anyway it’s her birthday today. But so we had only known each other a week and so because we shot this this time last year and she happened to mention…We didn’t know what to get her and it’s impossible to get her anything and she dresses so beautifully even at six o’clock in the morning coming to the trailer. It’s like she is so… You don’t want to get her like… What do you get her, you know?
So she had mentioned that she liked salt and I was like, ‘Oh, have you tried…’ This was my idea and now it’s embarrassing…I was like ‘Oh have you tried...’ because I really like salt but I really like fancy salt like I like you know just different sea salts and whatever and I was like ‘Have you tried this kind of salt?’ and she’s like, ‘No, just regular salt.’ And I was like ‘Oh my God, you guys, we should get Diane like a huge gift thing of salt’ and they’re like ‘Um, alright.’ So we got her like a huge box of… like all different salts… like, you know, salt that you eat but then bath salt and then like book salt that guy wrote about salt. That’s what we got her. And she was so nice about it because you know the next day she was like ‘That’s just the kind of present I like.
You know, so creative and fun and I’ll really enjoy that’ and we’re like ‘We got you salt.’ But seriously, what do you get her? And then when you walk in and there’s like a gift table and there’s like freaking gifts and like the box is so beautiful like why open it. It’s like that kind of thing.
MoviesOnline: And yours was salt?
Lauren: Well ours was salt. It was very heavy too.
"Because I Said So” opens in theaters on February 2nd. Lauen Graham will be seen next in Tom Shadyac’s Bruce Almighty starring opposite Steve Carell.
Credit: Movies Online