Parenthood and Lauren Graham already go hand in hand. You know her as Lorelai Gilmore, the hip, fast talking mom of Gilmore Girls. She slows it down a little on Parenthood, the new drama series based on Ron Howard’s 1989 movie.
Lauren Graham Talks Parenthood
“It’s a more sane life for sure, to be part of an ensemble,” Graham said. “I find that the work can be more specific therefore. I have to really make sure I know where I am in the story because I'm not in every scene. I have to sort of think about it as an actor in terms of the arc of each episode in a more deep way instead of trusting that, since I'm in most of the scenes I can kind of gauge where I am. So I've found this work really gratifying because it is more specific. You’re working with a smaller amount of material and therefore everything is really important. On Gilmore Girls sometimes I'd be in a scene that was just there kind of for fun. Here each scene really is an important part of where my character is. I don't see dawn as much as I did on the other show which has been really enjoyable.”
So that’s the business side of Parenthood versus Gilmore Girls. What about Lorelai versus Sarah Braverman? “What I've discovered and what I've really enjoyed is: as opposed to maybe Lorelai Gilmore who had a very sunny outlook on things, it’s been really interesting for me to play someone who is kind of shouldering a lot of baggage in terms of being disappointed about where she is in life and just the feeling of living in your parent’s house at 38 and how that informs everything and doesn't make you feel too great. So it’s just thinking about looking at life through the eyes of disappointment is kind of a thing I think about a lot with Sarah.”
Graham had a strong film career going, so Parenthood must have been good to get her back on TV. “The decision was kind of just a very instinctual one. I have been reading scripts for two and a half years or three years, whatever it is since Gilmore Girls ended and there just wasn't anything I connected to and that’s including things that I was developing that maybe didn't get to exactly the place I wanted them to. It follows like the dating model of you have a list of things that you want and then you meet somebody and fall in love and half the things were not on your list. This is kind of that in the ways that I didn't plan to play a mom, I didn't plan to do an ensemble. I sort of was thinking about a comedy and maybe cable.”
Parenthood ensures that mom fans will continue asking her for motherhood advice. “They do. I don't know what the thing is because my dad essentially raised me and I think if there’s any sort of connection I have it’s that I don't have an idea of what a mom is supposed to be. I just look at who the person is. Also I've been extremely fortunate to have kids who play my kids who are really easy to love. Even in this case, with Mae Whitman who we have a very contentious relationship on the show, there’s a chemistry in that you really have to have. I've just been really lucky to have that. Yes, moms do ask me for advice and I say, ‘I don't know how to help you.’ I've been in a place where people are like, ‘Oh, my mom is just like you’ and they mean that as a compliment. That wasn't so much my interest going forward. I don't necessarily want anyone to want to be me as a mom on this show. What I like about her is that she’s really kind of doing things in a more haphazard way and isn't always noble and doesn't always make the right choice. That felt different enough to me that it wasn't going to be like Lorelai so.”