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Author Topic: The Most Talkative Furnald Resident Ever (L.G.) - 04.20.07  (Read 2466 times)
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« on: April 24, 2007, 09:41:57 am »

The Most Talkative Furnald Resident Ever

By Laura Hedli
Columbia Spectator
Issue date: 4/20/07 Section: Arts & Entertainment

Two days ago, Spectator interviewed Barnard alum Lauren Graham, who stars as Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, currently in its seventh season. Over the years, her work on the show has been nominated for a Golden Globe and two SAG Awards. Gilmore Girls centers on a mother and daughter who are incredibly close-in their relationship and their ages-and the quirky New England town in which they live. In her interview with Spectator, Lauren Graham discussed her work on Gilmore Girls and her college experience-her transfer to Barnard, her favorite places on campus, and her favorite classes. From Furnald to Stars Hollow, we'll follow where she leads.

SPECTATOR: Why did you transfer from NYU to Barnard?

LAUREN GRAHAM: I transferred because when I originally applied to colleges, I knew I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to go to a conservatory program, and I felt sure that I wanted to go somewhere where I had to audition and where the focus was really going to be working as an actor. Once I got to NYU-which is where I ended up going-I felt like I was from a pretty academic family, my boyfriend at the time went to Harvard, and I was, like, rolling around on the floor pretending to be a lion.

I just thought that it didn't quite make sense. I felt like I could do that later, and I could do that type of training as an actor later, and actually that I'd made a mistake and what I really wanted was something that was more well-rounded. I wanted to go to Barnard because they had a theater arts major that I thought would incorporate everything I wanted. Ultimately I ended up being an English major. So to me the lesson was: I went to college at 17, and you only know so much about yourself, and I was glad for all the changes I made.

SPEC: Since Lorelai is such a strong woman, how do you think your Barnard education prepared you to play that particular role?

LG: Lorelai as a character is someone who did not go to college, dropped out of high school, and finished all that stuff on her own later. So I'm not sure if there's that kind of parallel. Certainly living in New York, going to Barnard, having the education I had, I felt that I got my training as a person and an actor. I ushered at different theaters. I had some great teachers of all kinds. You learn more as an actor doing something else that isn't directly related to acting ... In fact, I did too much, I was so scattered in terms of all the classes I took. I barely sort of had a major at the end, but I could have had a couple different minors. I just choose classes by professor and by who I thought I could learn from and what I thought sounded interesting, and I'm glad I did that.

SPEC: Did you have a favorite professor?

LG: Oh my God, it's been like a thousand years ... I wonder if she's still there, she's in the Columbia English department. Ann Douglas, she taught a lot of literature of the '20s and '30s.

SPEC: Getting back to the show, you are now a producer for the show as well as playing Lorelai, so how has the creative process changed or expanded for you?

LG: A lot changed this year because the creator of the show wasn't there anymore, so I think we all had to find a new process. There are a lot of different ways to be a producer on a TV show, and they gave me that title to acknowledge that my role in the process had increased slightly. We're now at a point in this show where the actors have been there the longest, and the whole process of how the show happens is of interest to me ... you know, on a larger scale, where's the story going, what's going to happen, and just sort of just being in on that discussion a little earlier.

As an actor, you just get a script, you don't ever know what's going to happen to your character, and by the time the script is written, you're far along, and that's pretty much what's going to happen. I feel like this character is so familiar to me, and I have such affection for the whole of the show that I just wanted to know where I was headed this year. So they were nice to include me in that.

SPEC: So how do you feel about the progression of Lorelai's character, and what prompted you want to take the role in the first place?

LG: Well, back then [before the show] I had done a lot of half-hour shows and pilots ... You know, it's more joke-centric on a half-hour, especially on an audience show, and you're not going to play a character who has all that much depth. It's a different form of entertainment ... I think the only way I think I've ever gotten a job or wanted a job is when I've read something and I just really connect to it. And I really connected to that character. And I thought, "Oh I know how this person sounds." And I think to some degree I was playing the writer-I think the voice of the character really was created by the vision of this woman who created the show [Amy Sherman-Palladino]. And then as I got to know her, I was like, "Oh this is really sort of her." So she could write something, and I just knew how she wanted it to sound. And I just thought, "Oh this is mine"-not in a presumptuous way, but that's how you have to feel in order to get a job. I was actually on another show at the time, and there was this whole conflict over would the one show let me out so I could do the other show.

 SPEC: Wait, so what show were you supposed to be in?

LG: At the time I was on a show called M.Y.O.B. produced by Don Roos. We had done 13 episodes, and we weren't sure if it was getting picked up yet. And I've been told since then that some sort of underground deal went on where they were like, we'll let her out of this if you give us ... I don't know, whatever else they were negotiating over. The show wasn't going to continue, so they let me do the other thing.

SPEC: During Rory's first year at Yale she finds her favorite tree. Do you have a favorite place, or building, or theater in New York that you liked to go?

LG: Oh, in New York, or on campus?

SPEC: On campus or New York. Wherever.

LG: Well, I always had affection for the dorm Furnald where I lived senior year because I was in the Metrotones, which-I don't know if they still exist. The women's a cappella group?

SPEC: Yeah, they do. My friend is in it, actually.

LG: Yeah, that was like the most fun I had in school, and still some of my best friends are from that group. The lobby of Furnald-I mean they all lived at Furnald Grocery-and the lobby is where we did a lot of our concerts, and that would be the building on campus that means the most to me, I would say. And then, there's so many places in New York. I mean, I still have a place there downtown ... And I love my building where I live, but I don't want to tell you where it is. (Laughs.) But it's a building.

SPEC: No problem, definitely, I understand. Yeah, I live in Elliott Hall on campus.

LG: Oh, I don't remember Elliott. I lived in John Jay, Furnald, I lived in some transfer dorm when I first was there ... They must have built dorms because when I was a transfer student they had us down at 79th and Amsterdam.

SPEC: Oh really? Wow. Yeah, Elliott is a transfer dorm, right behind Milbank sort of. But we all live in cells-eight-by-nine-feet rooms.

LG: Wow, yeah it makes such a big difference where you live there-and even though I loved my dorm in Furnald and I had a little single, I lived right by the elevator, which meant that all day and night you just hear [she makes a noise like a creaking elevator]. It was like the creakiest room to pick, and I couldn't figure out-because I was late in the lottery-and I couldn't figure out why this great room hadn't been picked, and that's why.

SPEC: So I know we're almost out of time, and I know you've been asked this a million times before, but what's the deal with talk of the eighth season?

LG: [Laughs] I just don't really know how to answer 'cause it's up in the air. I think we would like to come back if we feel like all the elements are in place-and that's not a euphemism for money-I really mean, if we feel like we can do it in a way that makes us happy creatively. You know, it does start to become-these one-hour jobs as an actor-it's a pretty tough schedule, and so you start to weigh quality of life with the incredible blessing of having a steady acting job, and it's surprising that over time it's actually a conflict. So if we can do it in a way that still makes the show really good, and can maybe make it manageable for the actors, then there may be a reason to come back.

So you're nearly done right? You have what, another month or so?

SPEC: Well, next week is the last week of classes.

LG: Oh my God! It'll never be that hard again. I just remember those weeks when you're taking finals and all that stuff, and it's never that hard again, but it's really miserable when you're in it ... I went through college and I looked back, and I thought I don't even remember ... I did too much in a short amount of time. I should have taken an extra semester or a year 'cause it's really a great place.

Additional content by Dani Dornfeld
credit: Columbia Spectator

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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2007, 08:04:32 pm »

Great interview w/LG. I hope GG does come back for an eighth season. We need another season just to wrap up s/l. I'm still holding out for a L/L wedding and also them having a child. As for R/L I would like to see these two at least back together as a couple, not necessarily married. I just feel that Luke is the one for Lorelai and that Logan is the one for Rory. I can't see these two girls w/anyone else except Luke/Logan.
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