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We're Hangin' With.....
by: Lynn B.
Beautiful, delicate, 21-year-old Alexis Bledel was a model when she was in high school in Houston, Texas. She attended NYU and completed her first year as a film major but she had to put her plans on hold when she was cast as Rory in the popular t.v. series "Gilmore Girls". Her career has expanded with the lead role of Winnie in Tuck Everlasting, a magical film based upon the popular novel. When we spoke with Alexis in Los Angeles, it was early in the morning and she was still yawning politely. Dressed in navy sweater coat, jeans and boots and wearing no make-up, she looked more 14 than 21 as she told us about the physical demands of the film, some funny moments and her wish to return to her writing some day.
AGW: How did you become involved in Tuck Everlasting?
Alexis: I read the script then I sat down with Jay Russell the director and talked about the movie and his ideas. I really liked what he had to say and I asked him lots of questions and he answered all of them. Later on I was up for the part and I got it and it was great.
AGW: Had you read the book?
Alexis: I read the book once I got the part but I hadn't read it before then.
AGW: What did you like about the character of Winnie that made you want to make this your first big movie?
Alexis: She has a lot to do in this movie. The script is full of her and she basically goes from being a child in the beginning of the movie and grows throughout the course of it. There's a lot of great stuff to play in between.
AGW: What was it like working with Oscar winner Sissy Spacek? Any acting tips exchanged?
Alexis: I certainly didn't give her any pointers. It was interesting watching her work because she seems to be a very sensitive person and I think that's what makes her such a great actress because she notices so much and knows so much about her characters and what they would do in every situation, how their surroundings would effect them.
AGW: If you could live forever, what would be the one thing you would want to accomplish?
Alexis: I would be kind of like the character Jesse in the movie. I'd want to see as much as possible and travel the world. I think that's probably the best thing to do with all that time.
AGW: Is there somewhere you would especially like to go?
Alexis: I haven't seen most of Europe. I'd really like to spend time there and I'd love to go to Africa. Those are my top choices.
AGW: If you were faced with the choice that your character has in the movie, what would you do?
Alexis: I probably wouldn't want to be stuck at fifteen because I think that's a pretty conflicted age to be stuck at with all the hormones and the crazy skin problems or whatever. I'd want to be a little older and have a sense of myself. I probably wouldn't do it either [choose to live forever].
AGW: This is a period film. You wear a corset. Did that help to put you into character?
Alexis: Yes. Definitely. When you put the corset on it gives you a glimpse into what those women's lives must have been like, a little bit. Just the fact that they did that to themselves to look a certain way gives you an idea of how important it was to be a proper young lady in those times, to kind of fit the mold of what they were trying to accomplish socially. The director, Jay Russell told me to use the corset as a device to remind myself that not only physically, but emotionally, she was trapped in her surroundings and wanted desperately to get out. It was definitely a reminder because the thing is so tight!
AGW: Your successful series and carrying this movie is a lot on your shoulders. How are you handling it?
Alexis: I took a few months off last year to kind of step back from it. It think that's the best way to gain perspective on all of it; kind of step back and look at it, evaluate it and move on. All of that stuff just comes with the territory. I've always just looked at it as the job and this [interviews] is part of it to me. I try to make as much time as possible to do my stuff, live my life and all the rest is just my job.
AGW: What was the most challenging scene for you?
Alexis: There was a lot of physical work in this movie that I wasn't really aware of. We were running around. It was tiring in a whole other way. On [Gilmore Girls] we talk really fast and that's sort of mentally exhausting to keep track of it and spit it out and have it have some sort of humanity but this was exhausting in a whole other way. When I read the script, I read mostly the dialogue to kind of understand the character and what I was supposed to do. But in between all the dialogue were all these little paragraphs that I just kind of 'okay so they're running around, great' but I didn't realize that's going to be a whole day of climbing up rocks and jumping into very cold water! You don't take that into account until you actually do it. Now I pay such close attention to all that stuff and take notes like 'jumping, running'.
AGW: Was it weird getting used to how slow making a movie is?
Alexis: I thought it was great, man. I could read. I listened to my music in my trailer. You have a lot more time to think about your character and what you're going to do in the scene, make sure that it's all consistent, fitting into place. I've appreciated the time but there were times when I said 'Okay what are we doing? Can we move this along?' But we actually moved pretty quickly on this film because we had a limited amount of time to shoot it and it was sort of a fast pace for a movie. I think our daily page count was bigger than a lot of other movies.
AGW: What music did you listen to on your breaks?
Alexis: I listened to a lot of Dave Matthews on this movie. Make of that what you will. I'm not sure why.
AGW: Do you watch the director on the set? Do you have interest in ever being behind the camera in your career?
Alexis: I do. It's a much more interesting place to be than in front of the camera. I don't know how things will play out. I've got my hands pretty full right now. I like writing a lot and I'd like to write something and try to get it made at some point. When you're on a set there's so much going on, so many different processes at the same time that you observe it all like a big clump. So I have this clump of information floating around in my head that I'm sure will be useful at some point.
AGW: What would you write?
Alexis: I don't know. That was going to be my main concentration in film school. That's the way it was going toward the end of the year that I was there. I still have a lot of work to do on my writing before I'll send something out there to be evaluated by other people.
AGW: What in your life is your anti-drug or natural high?
Alexis: My job just keeps me so busy that if I were to be on drugs and try to attempt doing my job I'd be useless. My job keeps me busy, man.
AGW: Are you anxious to do another film?
Alexis: I'm not anxious. I've really got my hands full with the program because it's a crazy schedule but I'm reading a lot of things right now to pick out what the next one would be. Lots of options floating around.
AGW: So you are too busy for a social life?
Alexis: A one hour t.v. show is all-consuming. It pretty much takes over your life and that's all you can really do while you're working on it. We have a hiatus every year. You can get in touch with all the people you've lost touch with and spend a lot of time with your family kind of apologizing for not being available or you do a film.
AGW: Was it fun working with Jonathan Jackson [her leading man in the film]?
Alexis: Yeah. He's a great guy. We had a good time on this film. He's very professional. He's been acting a long time since he was very young so he really had a good handle on it and he shared some of his wisdom with me. When we were having one of those days with the climbing and jumping around, he was like 'don't worry about it because all the bad stuff you forget. At the end of the shoot you'll only remember the good stuff'. I'm working on that. I think I'll get there.
AGW: Did anything funny happen on the shoot?
Alexis: Back to Jonathan, there's a waterfall and we jump into the water off this rock. There was like a square foot of water that we could jump into where there weren't rocks in the water. He jumps in first and he's shouting some lines at me and, with his head, he's like pointing at the square foot where I'm supposed to jump. It's windy and cold and I'm confused. He's motioning with his one arm, steering me in the right way so I won't split my head open. You never see it but it was this unspoken thing 'Don't wipe out now'.
AGW: The woods in the film are beautiful.
Alexis: It was. It's crazy because Baltimore is just a regular city. The inner harbor is nice but it's pretty straightforward and then you're in a suburban neighborhood and take a random left and you're in this beautiful national park with waterfalls and gorgeous forests. It's unexpected.
AGW: How has your family influenced your acting and choices?
Alexis: They're always just a constant source of support. They just want me to do what makes me happy so it's pretty great.
AGW: Would you do another period movie?
Alexis: I love period pieces. Some of my favorite movies are period pieces so I would definitely do another one. I'd love to do one set in the '60's or something like that. Some bell-bottoms and some platforms.
AGW: Do you plan to go back to college?
Alexis: I would love to but back to the all-consuming subject. It just doesn't allow for school or life or anything. It's just work.
AGW: Any news on what is coming up on Gilmore Girls?
Alexis: This season Rory comes back. She's been away all Summer with Paris at a young politicians' convention of some sort and she comes back and has to deal with the situation with the boys that she's created. She has to pick up the pieces.
AGW: There was an adorable little fawn in the movie. Did you get to pet it?
Alexis: Yeah. That was completely spontaneous. We weren't going to get that. They just put the fawn down and it just ran up to Jonathan and started licking his nose.
AGW: Coffee is so important to The Gilmore Girls. Are you addicted too?
Alexis: After the first year, I was drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee because they would give it to us all the time at work. Now mine has either tea or coca cola in there because I made myself sick off coffee. I can't drink any more. It's gross.
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