Why did you decide to take the part?
LAUREN GRAHAM: It’s the best thing I’ve read. It’s was really that simple.
Any trepidation about signing another long-term TV commitment?
GRAHAM: Yeah. I’ve been out of that work for, I guess it’s been two-and-half years now. I did a Broadway show, I did three movies… I [enjoyed] working freelance like that. So, strangely, as much as I’ve been looking for a series almost since I ended that last one, it was almost like, “But wait… ” I’ve enjoyed [the variety] of projects I’ve done. That’s hard to think about giving up.
Why join an ensemble instead of continuing to pursue your own vehicle?
GRAHAM: Well, it’s just so good. As I said to [executive producer] Jason Katims, I’m used to seeing my character on every single page [of the script]. But my favorite dramas were ensembles like The West Wing and Studio 60… This was put in front of me and I responded instinctually. It was just something I really wanted to do.
Sarah shares some things in common with Lorelai.
GRAHAM: She’s a woman. She probably wears jeans. [Laughs]. She’s a single mom, yes, but I don’t think the tone of the show is the same. The sound of Gilmore Girls, that voice, is so unique to Amy [Sherman-Palladino]. This show has its own voice. It’s a grown-up show, too. It doesn’t have some of the more whimsical elements of [Gilmore Girls]. It’s more realistic.
You’ll probably have fewer lines of dialogue to memorize, too.
GRAHAM: [Laughs] Jason’s language is very elegant and economical — and that’s not to put [Gilmore Girls] down. Nothing will ever be like that. The thing that was most important to me is to have a writer who I feel can really write something that I’m dying to do, ’cause that’s what I had last time. And this is how that felt to me. So whether or not it seems like the logical next step, I just really responded to the material and that’s where I had good luck last time. [When I considered doing Gilmore], people were like, “Oh, it’s the WB” and “Oh, you’re playing a mom.” I’ve had good luck just following my instincts.
Will anything change about the character now that you’re playing her?
GRAHAM: I’m getting together to talk with Jason this weekend. That’s one of the key things [I liked] about this job was he was like, “I really want to hear what you want [this role] to be.” We’re still kind of working that out a little bit. What I said to him is I’m interested in the flawed part of her. For seven years I played someone who people come up and say, “I wish my mom was just like Lorelai.” That’s not this character. She’s not perfect. She’s funny and smart and she’s doing a pretty good job, but she’s struggling, and that’s what I’m drawn to. In my experience, it’s the less noble parts of someone that are the most interesting, especially over a long story.
Now for the big question: Does this mean you won’t have time to shoot the Gilmore Girls movie?
GRAHAM: [Laughs] Mike, [the movie's] in the can. It’s coming soon to a theater near you.