Playing mom opens new career doors

On “Gilmore Girls,” Lauren Graham plays a young woman who had a daughter at 16, a development that altered the course of the character’s life. It is fitting, then, that Graham’s involvement in the show was just as life-changing.

“I read the script and loved it,” she remembers, “but I wasn’t available.”

Graham had a starring role on another show, “M.Y.O.B.,” which was not picked up. Meanwhile, “the script just kept knocking at my door.”

“So many things could have happened differently,” she says.

In “Gilmore Girls,” Graham plays a single mother whose daughter is now a precocious 16 herself. The show focuses on the incredibly strong mother-daughter bond as both, in their own way, cope with growing up.

“This family has no resemblance to my family whatsoever,” Graham says with a laugh, “but I identify with it anyway. I don’t know why it speaks to me.”

The WB series apparently speaks to many, since it has developed into one of the net’s most popular skeins. Much of the credit, says Graham, goes to executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino, who helped create the show’s literate and witty style.

“This is just one of those parts where I felt like, ‘This is mine’ as soon as I read it,” Graham says. “I just liked the tone. Amy and I have a similar sensibility. It’s like a marriage or dating. It doesn’t come around that often.

“She writes, and I know what she means. The language is so fun and so clever, I always want it to be anchored in the intention of the scene.”

The only drawback thus far has been a work schedule bordering on sadistic.

“An average, easy day would be 14 hours,” she says, “but here’s the good thing: I’m never bored. I never sit in a trailer. I’m not out at 3 in the afternoon wondering what to do with myself.

“I have known I wanted to act since freshman year in high school, if not before. To have some small sense of security, in something I really like, in something that teaches me things … All of that gives me some small amount of peace.”

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