Gilmore Girls Revival Interview

Gilmore Girls Revival: Kelly Bishop Teases Widow Emily's 'Manic' State, Richard's Immense 'Presence'

Kelly Bishop‘s re-entry into Stars Hollow last Friday hit a snag.

At the inaugural table read for Netflix’s four-part Gilmore Girls revival, the East Coast-based actress — who was reciting her lines via speaker phone from her home in New Jersey, as she had done during much of the show’s original seven-year run — experienced some connectivity issues.

“Unfortunately, there was a time lag, like when you watch one of those reporters in Afghanistan,” she explains. “It had never happened before, and I’ve done a lot of remote table reads. So that certainly slowed down the process.”

It didn’t, however, dampen her enthusiasm. Technical glitch aside, Bishop describes that first script reading as “absolutely delightful,” adding: “To hear all of those voices again was pretty amazing. I was 20 pages in and I was like, ‘Ahh… I’m back in Gilmore Land. I’m here. It never went away.'”

In the following Q&A, Bishop opens about what it’s been like stepping back into Emily’s privileged shoes after an eight-year absence, and what it means to be doing so without her onscreen other half, the late Edward Herrmann, by her side.

TVLINE | I imagine there have been a lot of mixed emotions diving back into this role without Ed….
It’s going to be very difficult. I read your interview with Lauren [Graham], where she talked about stepping foot on the set already. I haven’t had that happen yet. And I know it’s going to be so moving. We so miss him. We’ve missed him since we found out he had died. It’s going to be very hard doing it without him, because he and I were buds on the show. We, obviously, were older [than the rest of the cast]. But we were also New York actors, and we connected very well. We always did our crossword puzzles together in the hair-and-makeup room. That was one of our little routines. There was a comfort level…. [Sighs] It’s going to be hard without him.

TVLINE | Without giving too much away, what is Emily’s mindset when we pick up?
Well, because of the fact that Emily lost her husband, she’s kind of a raw nerve. In a desperate attempt to push through [her grief], she blows between right on the edge of losing it to almost being a little manic. I recall doing something very similar when I lost my mother; I was quite devastated. I suddenly got into this mode of getting things done and getting things done right. I was manic and aggressive and pushing, pushing, pushing — because, if you stop, you’re going to cry. So you don’t stop. And I see that in Emily. [Richard] is certainly a presence, especially in that first script. And Ed’s probably going to be hovering around the set a bit and watching over us. I really do believe that. Because he really loved the show.

TVLINE | Have you read all four scripts?
I read [the first script] “Winter.” I’ve read “Spring.” I’m in the middle of “Summer” now. And “Fall” came to me the other day – it’s still in the box. I won’t open the box until I finish “Summer.”

TVLINE | Did you flip to the last page of “Fall” to see what the final four words are?

GilmoreTVLINE | But they’re right in the box!
Yes, they’re sitting in the box. I’m one of those kids who never opened her Christmas presents ahead of time. And it wasn’t because I wanted to be honorable or anything. It would’ve been a spoiler, although we didn’t use that word 500 years ago when I was a child. I want to see it when it happens. That’s why I’m not going to tell people what’s going to happen — and you know better than to ask me — because it really would spoil. I want viewers to experience it the same way when I read it. But these scripts are good. They’re really good. And bringing back all of those characters is so delicious. Like Gypsy (played by Scandal‘s Rose Abdoo); I always loved Gypsy. And Paris is a hoot. It’s unbelievable what Amy has written for Paris (How to Get Away With Murder‘s Liza Weil). People are going to have so much fun with it.

You know, in all those years of doing Gilmore Girls. I never probed. I never asked. I never wanted to know any secrets. I never called Amy and said, “What’s going to happen?” I like to open the scripts as if it was a present and just see what was inside there. And sometimes it was shocking. But most of the time, amazingly, I would go, “Yep, that’s it. Spot on. That’s exactly what she’d say!” So I’ll just follow the lead and see where it goes.

TVLINE | Do you feel like you have unfinished business with Emily?
Emily was so locked into her way of life. I often felt, in trying to defend her to some degree because she was sort of indefensible at times which amused the hell out of me — “Why is this woman like this? Why is she so hard?” Although I will say she reminded me so much of my grandmother, so I had someone to draw on very readily. I finally decided that she is weirdly insecure… I think I would like to see her, since she has been thrust into this [widow] situation, grow a bit. However, let’s face it, good comedy and good drama always comes from conflict. And there always has to be conflict between me and Lorelai. If we got along we’d all be falling asleep in front of our televisions. She’s a very confused woman in a lot of ways. She’s secretly very proud of Lorelai, and yet she’s really mad at her, ever since she was 16 and got pregnant. She’s still holding on to that.

TVLINE | Are you psyching yourself up for the cross-country commute?
I did it for seven years. I’m older now, so I’m a little less patient. [Laughs] I’m kinda not looking forward to all that flying. My husband’s not well now, so it’s really important that I don’t spend any more time away from home than I have to. His daughter’s going to come up from Gilmore-Girls-bishop-blurbVirginia and spell me, and she certainly has been here and knows the drill. It’s going to be hard on all of us, but we all agreed that it’s something that I just have to do. I have to do it. I’d be heartbroken if the show went on without me.

TVLINE | It couldn’t go on without you.
I would dry up and blow away like a leaf. This show is so deeply important to me, on so many levels. Part of it is the idealistic actor thing where you just want to do good material and feel proud of yourself. I work with such delightful people. I’m madly in love with Lauren — I was from practically the first day we said hi. It was just one of those situations where I was doing a really wonderful character with amazing writing with really good people. And I happen to love the Warner Bros. lot. I just think it’s gorgeous… I have to finish this out. And it’s great knowing how excited fans are.

TVLINE | You have no idea how excited they are.
And I love that [there’s this level of enthusiasm] for an intelligent show. I love humor. I love, love, love, love doing comedy. But I hate cheap, broad comedy. I like sophisticated, smart comedy. Plus, this whole world is skewed. This is how I explain it to people: “You look at a room. And then you just tip it sideways a little bit.” That’s Gilmore Girls. It’s a little tip.

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  1. Emily demanded to go first. I’m already sniffling.

  2. jimbo says:

    May your husband get better as quickly as possible, Mrs. Bishop! I think I speak for everyone that we’re very grateful you’re coming back for the revival, it really couldn’t go on without you. It wouldn’t be Gilmore Girls without the matriarch of the family.

  3. Another amazing interview – thank you! Kelly is such a class act. I really loved reading this.

    Also, she mentioned Paris!! So Liza Weils is coming back. YES!

    • Ginny says:

      Finally getting confirmation that Paris was going to be in this just made me 10x more excited! I hope it is more than just a little 2 minute blip. Though, I know Liza Weil is busy, so I’m not expecting much.

  4. GeoDiva says:

    We are all in mourning with you regarding Ed. I already know I am going to ball my eyes out when they acknowledge that he is gone.

  5. LilCece says:

    This is everything. YOU, Ausiello, are everything! Kelly Bishop is a force. Love everything about this!

  6. Dennis says:

    Love her!
    And love that she confirmed Paris is coming back!
    Hope Sooki is back too!

  7. Liz says:

    Wait, the last 4 words are going to come at the end of the 3rd episode, not the 4th?

  8. webly3 says:

    Great interview! Ausiello consistently delivers. I’m so excited for the revival.

  9. David4 says:

    This is my problem with Melissa McCarthy not being in it. Like Loreli’s best friend wouldn’t be there for her father’s death.

    • c-mo says:

      He’s already died; they’ve already had the funeral. If Jackson, Sookie and the 3 kids moved out of Stars Hollow, Sookie will need to get back to her new job. Honestly, I’m not sure I want Melissa McCarthy back. The characters she has been playing in the 8 years since GG ended have been so “bigger than life” that I’m not at all sure she could tone it down and/or be willing to take a backseat again to the real stars, Lauren & Alexis. I am happy that Paris, Lane & Kirk are back. Do we know, is Michel back?

      • David4 says:

        How do you know that? From what I read it starts again with the Winter and sounds like the general takes place in the movie / episode.

        • c-mo says:

          It says so in the article:
          “What is Emily’s mindset when we pick up?
          Well, because of the fact that Emily lost her husband, she’s kind of a raw nerve.”

      • jimbo says:

        Michel tweeted he’ll return, yeah.

        • jimbo says:

          Or rather, the actor who portrays Michel, Yanic Truesdale, tweeted it. :D

        • c-mo says:

          Yay!!! The Dragon Fly would be so boring without him…unless the “Rando Dragon Fly Inn Customer” became a permanent guest…? Any word on the status of the “Rando Dragon Fly Inn Customer”, Michael? I find it hard to believe that Lauren hasn’t been lobbying hard for your return. It was pretty obvious in that picture that you and Lauren had chemistry!

      • info says:

        I hope Melissa returns, she’s already starting to get some hate for the possibility of not returning because of her status now like she’s an ingrate of something.

        • Kara says:

          It’s not because she think she’s some big great, it’s because she so busy, the producers said so, they would love to have her back for even just a moment but said she just really busy right now but are trying. Has nothing to do with her thinking she’s too good, she’s just really busy and might not have time right now.

      • forg says:

        In Mike & Molly, Melissa has taken the backseat in a couple of episodes and she’s the lead of the show. Except for the early part of Season 4 where they tried to make Molly similar to Melissa’s movie roles, Melissa in Mike & Molly is so different from her bigger than life movie roles. I’m confident she’ll be able to successfully get to back to her Sookie groove granting they managed to get her in (hopefully she’s part of it even for just an episode)

  10. Eh says:

    Of course, Emily would be manic, that’s just in character. Remember when she almost leased a plane because she was fighting with Rory? I’m sure she’s still upset over Richard breaking his promise of letting Emily go first.

    I can’t wait to see the new episode! I’m actually more excited about what Paris is up to than I thought I would be.

  11. jj says:

    sad to hear that her husband isn’t doing well :( But her participation in the special really shows how much the show means to her. In happier news i’m so excited that liza weil has a part!

  12. Josh says:

    Paris is back! I thought she wasn’t since she wasn’t mentioned but Paris is back. Viva La Paris!

  13. AJ says:

    I used to work on the Warner Bros lot when they originally filmed. I would eat lunch on the steps of Lorelei’s house when they weren’t filming. So this GG revival brings back all kinds of great memories sneaking onto sets and the love I had for the show then and will now. Emily was my favorite character because Kelly Bishop delivered her with such respect. Can’t wait for the new series!

  14. Bonnie W says:

    So excited that so many cast members are taking part. What about Mrs. Kim? I’d love to see her again.

  15. Liz says:

    Ahhh, there would be no Gilmore Girls without Emily….
    We will really miss Ed though.

  16. Christine says:

    This was a fantastic read! Kelly Bishop is such a classy lady, and was always my favorite part of Gilmore Girls. She played Emily wonderfully and I cannot wait to see her firing maids again! We love you Kelly!

  17. forg says:

    I’ll probably gonna lose it the first moment they mention Richard :(

  18. Nicolas. says:

    So, Did she just confirmed that Paris and Gipsie are coming back? OMG…IM DYING!!!

  19. Kellbax says:

    What a lovely interview. This really wouldn’t have felt complete without Emily. Thank you, Michael for all the Gilmore Girls scoop!

  20. Joann says:

    So very excited you guys will be back. Good luck.

  21. KathyNYC says:

    I just can’t believe how excited I am about this…

  22. Randall Laue says:

    Have been binge watching the series for the last year, I had forgotten how much I was quoting the dialogue. The whole process is very educational to follow, learning what was planned and what was brought about from complications from cast issues. NEVER thought about the behind the camera aspects of casting and how to keep the plots moving forward. Interesting.

  23. I love Gilmore Girls I think al, mothers snf Daughters should watch it together. I love you Lauarali,Rory, Luke. Mom Gilmore uou have btought alot of joy into my home and love .I have every season and ehen I need my Gilmore logjc I watch for hours. I love you all.I’m so excited.

  24. Becca says:

    I love Gilmore Girls and am so frigging exited to see these. but, Is anyone else sick of hearing about the Last 4 Words? AS-P probably made that up to keep everyone guessing because the show didn’t end her way. I doubt the last 4 words will be anything special, and AS-P will just say that she wanted to kept them for herself instead. That way it will justify it when they don’t seem all that special.

    • Randall Laue says:

      The last words are significant! As well as having closure for a six year commitment to a wonderful relationship with a group of friends.

  25. Tami Renee says:

    Why oh why are they not bringing back Melissa McCarthy’s character?Sookie was one if the main reasons I liked that show! She was funny, sweet and little dim at times but she was a huge part of the show, Gilmore Girls! What kind of reunion is it going to be without Sookie? This is a dishonor to all the fans and quite frankly a slap in the face to Melisaa McCarthy!

  26. I agree when she says this show is intelligent comedy. That’s how I always thought of it. Still watch the reruns on TV and have the first 3 seasons on DVD. I really need to get the rest.

  27. Sebastian says:

    When I get to heaven, I want to meet Edward Herrmann, who died.

  28. Sandra says:

    Watch the Gilmore episodes over and over. The dialogue reminded me of the dialogue in the old movies. It was up to date but very quick witted. So glad to hear of 4 more episodes hope they have the good clean dialogue of the original show.

  29. Linda says:

    I hope this helps lorelia and emily relize how fast things can change, maybe they could have a better relationship in the revival