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Lauren Graham: One Hot Mama, 11.04.00 ...

The show may be called The Gilmore Girls, but compared with her pouty-mouthed pubescent WB costars, Lauren Graham, at 32, is positively ancient. Call her a late bloomer. As an English major at Barnard, she decided to pass on the waitress route to acting and went straight to drama grad school at Dallas' SMU.

Then came the barrage of bit parts and near breaks: A recurring role as Richard's annoyingly perky girlfriend in Caroline in the City, guest spots on NewsRadio and Law & Order and full-time roles in short-lived shows--Good Company, Townies, Conrad Bloom, M.Y.O.B.

Now, it looks like Graham's found a show with sticking power--Gilmore Girls is a critical favorite for fall. And though her Lorelai Gilmore is twice the age of her onscreen daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel), she's one hip mama, with a penchant for Macy Gray CDs and mood-enhancing lipgloss.

And next year, Graham costars with Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron in Sweet November, in which a hot and heavy scene between Graham and Reeves guarantees to boost her PG-13 rating.

Which got us to wondering...

E! Online: What was it like playing tonsil hockey with Keanu?
Lauren: "The opening scene is people having raucous and impersonal sex. I'm naked, he's naked, we're naked together. I'm not sure you'll see certain things on camera, but it was really funny. We had just met the day before, and the first thing we shot was the sex scene. We tried to shoot with stuff on, but they were seeing underwear on the side--so we shot naked."

E! Online: Gee, naked with Keanu Reeves--sounds tough.
Lauren: "I can't explain how nice and mellow he is. It's just as weird for him, and he's famous, so it's probably weirder. It's really an out-of-body experience. You have to trust the director."

E! Online: She also looks pretty hot on Gilmore Girls. Does she think she'd be that hip as a mom?
Lauren: "I don't know. One of the things I like about the show is it redefines the idea of what it is to be a mother--which at its most basic level is to take care of a child. It doesn't mean you have to look like the ladies in the Lysol commercials."

E! Online: One that got away: With Jenna Elfman and Molly Ringwald in 1996's Townies.

E! Online: Would she ever attempt single momhood?
Lauren: "Oh, God, I was raised by my dad, so I know how hard it is. I hope I won't have to do that, because it's rough."

E! Online: Does she dread family dinners with the folks as much as Lorelai does?
Lauren: "No. The family dinners on this show become a sore point, because I've lost touch with my parents. But they're helping me out with money. That always makes family relationships tough. I enjoy dinners with my daddy, and, um, it's not quite as bad as it is there."

E! Online: She's a caffeine addict on the show. Does she actually guzzle that much coffee while she works?
Lauren: "I definitely drink a huge amount of coffee--a good three store-bought coffees a day. At one point, because I had so much, they started giving me decaf [on the show]. It was not my request, but I think they were nervous about where things were headed if the caffeine continued."

E! Online: Her love interest on the show, Scott Patterson, is pretty sexy. Who else would be her ideal leading man?
Lauren: "I don't know. I wouldn't pick anybody from 'N Sync. I love Jeff Bridges. I like guys who have some gravity and look like they can ride a horse."

E! Online: Um, a horse?
Lauren: "Yeah. It's not a requirement. I just like that rugged look."
Credit: E! Online

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