Lauren Graham on Writing Her History and Lessons Learned in Hollywood – SheKnows


Gilmore Girls fans know an awful lot about Lorelai Gilmore, played over seven enjoyable, coffee-fueled seasons by Lauren Graham. We know what motivates her (conversations with her parents about money, the plural use of the word cul-de-sac), her strengths (hardworking entrepreneur, excellent parent) and her weaknesses (Christopher… alas).

And now, with the release of Did I already tell you?, a book of essays filled with poignant moments and wry humor, we now know a lot more about the inner workings of Graham herself. The actress and writer touches on everything from Hollywood’s unspoken social hierarchies to aging to thoughtful comments about boobs.

There are also the intimate, more private moments that make quiet appearances, including reflections on the end of his decade-long relationship and his complicated dynamic with his mother. When we get these passages, hidden in the text, we feel like we’ve carefully earned them. And in between, it’s a fun, bubbly read with a narrator who feels like your funniest friend.

Our conversation below, about writing, lessons learned in Hollywood, and running for Taylor Swift.

When you first sat down to write this book, were there any seeds of ideas you most wanted to tackle?

It started with the title of the book. I realized that I had come to a place with friends and family who knew all my stories – we know each other’s stories. I was very struck by the discovery, which is the first essay in the book, that the story my father had told from the day I was born all my life was incorrect. When he was faced with reality, he thought, “Oh, well, that’s how I remember [it].” He didn’t care, deep down. And I thought, “God, we change stories over time based on how we remember them and who we tell them to.”

This is where the idea started. I thought, “What are some of these seminal stories that I tell people to say, ‘This is who I am.

Is there a chapter here that you would most want to give someone to read, if you wanted them to better understand who Lauren Graham is?

To some extent, it’s “Boobs of the 90s” because it’s about being part of a trend without really challenging it, and then taking that idea of ​​yourself in a time when it doesn’t. is more relevant.

I wonder if it’s just a natural piece of getting old. I tried to be someone who constantly re-evaluates. I never want to get stuck in, “Here’s my story about who I am, and I’m not going to grow from there.” I feel like you can get stuck in your family history or a particular idea of ​​who you are. It’s kind of the theme of this book – constantly re-evaluated.

I learned a lot about boobs and I learned a lot about Hollywood by reading this book. If you could go back in time and give your 32-year-old some industry advice as you were just starting out Gilmore Girlswhat would you say?

I think asking more questions and trying to cultivate a sense of self. I went into these situations always feeling like I was so lucky to be there and sometimes I just didn’t bring my whole being, in a confident way.

I even think of simple things, like when I played one of Diane Keaton’s daughters in the movie Because I said so. I was so in love with her and couldn’t believe I was working with her that I almost deprived myself of the experience of getting to know her. She [was] approachable and easy and charming and outstretched. I guess take a little more space and don’t wait for permission.

It reminds me of an essay in your book where you talk about the pressure to be polite. It’s something I think women have to navigate a bit and I’m curious what has been your evolutionary relationship with politeness?

I was brought up to value manners and speak kindly and I think that’s fantastic. But that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself creatively. There’s a joke among actors when you work with a director who gives you marks you don’t want to do. You say, “Oh, yes, thank you very much.” And then you do what you want to do. It took years [to figure out]. I was like, “Wait, is that a category?”

The only thing you control as an actor is between action and editing, and everything else is manipulated by a million other people… you have to be a good collaborator, but that doesn’t mean giving up on all of them. your ideas. It’s a very delicate balance.

The chapter you wrote on aging particularly stood out. I wonder what stayed with you after exploring this topic?

It was an eye opener how much more writing, comedy, and conversation there is between women on this topic. I’m talking about this essay by Nora Ephron titled “I Feel Bad About My Neck” [in the chapter]. Out of curiosity, I googled “men, necks, feelings” and what came up was “Why are men so obsessed with women’s necks?” I [thought], “Wow, there’s not even a man…” That was interesting to me, it’s a topic that’s uniquely feminine in some ways. It’s just good to have a conversation and move on.

Do you have a favorite Nora Ephron essay that you enjoy rereading?

She’s got a whole thing about egg white omelettes and how stupid they are. She has something about her handbag, how she hates her handbag and she’s not a person who understands people with fancy handbags. I think one of the things that draws me to his writing is the excerpts. They’re just such time capsules of New York from another era. She talks about the workshop and writing process When Harry Met Sally with Rob Reiner and how they were having these conversations and he was like, ‘Well, men would never do that.’ And she said, “Women would never do that.” And that’s how the screenplay was born. I love the process. I like to hear how someone did something.

You talk about this idea of ​​how, in Hollywood, if you play a cute vet, you’re going to keep being asked to play this cute vet in other projects. How did you feel about that experience, having played a truly beloved character for so many years?

I think, especially on TV, unless you’re sure The crown or something that’s a vintage piece, you use a lot yourself. You are so close to [the character], you tell a story in increments and in some cases 20 episodes… you live with them. In a way, I just didn’t fight it. I tried to ensure that the projects were sufficiently different from each other. But I’ve now been on TV playing three single moms in a row. I wouldn’t look for that anymore.

I think once you’ve done something, you dream about the opposite. I’m really fascinated by the work of Danny Strong [writer of Dope Sick, Empire and Doyle on Gilmore Girls]. I would like to do something less comedic, I guess.

Someone tweeted recently and asked if you were listening to Taylor Swift’s new album. You said you were. I’m curious – what’s your favorite song Midnights?

The way I listen to it… I don’t watch the titles. I run on the treadmill to him. But I got to meet her this summer at someone’s birthday and she was so adorable. I’m a fan of everything [her] music and also how she behaved, with a lot of grace and kindness. I’m just a super fan in general.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Before leaving, click here to see which books you should read based on your last binge-watch.

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