At a graceful 21 years old, Alexis Bledel is having the time of her life, first as Rory Gilmore in the smash hit Gilmore Girls, and now in Disney’s period fantasy, Tuck Everlasting, which had its world premiere at this year’s recent Toronto International Film Festival. It is here that the pretty actress talked to Paul Fischer.
Alexis Bledel, otherwise known as Rory Gilmore on the hit TV series Gilmore Girls, seemed a tad dazed amidst the chaotic turmoil of the Toronto Film Festival. The petite, seemingly shy actress says right off the bat that this was her first Festival experience “to be gentle with me”. Duly noted. She was in Toronto to promote her first film, Tuck Everlasting. Based on the award-winning book by Natalie Babbitt, the film revolves around Winnie Foster (Bledel), a teenage girl on the cusp of maturity. Winnie longs for a life outside the control of her domineering mother (Amy Irving), and when lost in the woods near her home, she happens upon Jesse Tuck (Jonathan Jackson), a boy unlike any she’s ever met before.
He and his family (William Hurt, Sissy Spacek, Scott Bairstow) are kind and generous, and they immediately take her in as one of their own. However, the Tucks hold a powerful secret, and with the mysterious Man in the Yellow Suit (Ben Kingsley) tracking them down, they fear that the world as they know it could end. Ultimately, Winnie must decide whether to return to her life or stay with her beloved Jesse and his family forever. Looking for the right project during her Gilmore Girls hiatus, Bledel found it in this whimsical drama. “It’s such a beautiful story and for a children’s film, it deals with some relatively dark themes especially in its treatment of death,” Bledel says.
Though playing a 15-year old in Tuck, the 21-year old actress has no problem harking back to her own adolescence playing either this character or Rory in Gilmore Girls. “There’s just so much stuff that these characters go through, and so many changes happening, there’s a lot to play, as an actor.”
One of the themes in Tuck Everlasting is this notion that given a choice, by drinking from a magical spring, one can live forever. While some may find that appealing, that is of no interest to the young actress. “The film raises a lot of issues regarding the ability to live forever and the darker side of that and I just don’t think I’d want to see all my friends and family die while I live on.”
A former model born in Houston, Texas, Bledel has achieved fame in a relatively short period of time. Before heading on the road to Hollywood, Bledel went to college at New York University studying film. Ironically, she recalls, “I always thought that I would work BEHIND the camera, because it’s a more comfortable place for me to be, really,” she admits. But Fate intervened and while Bledel was busily studying at NYU, she started working as a model to earn some extra money and began auditioning for some TV pilots prior to landing the part of Rory Gilmore in Gilmore Girls.
Bledel admits surprise that such a sweet series about a mother and daughter has afforded her opportunities beyond her expectations. “The show has definitely given me opportunities. I guess I was sort of surprised but I hadn’t had any prior experience with television, so I didn’t really know what to expect. To me, this is normal,” the 21-year old actress laughingly adds. “But I guess this isn’t the way it works out. I think we’re really lucky so I think there must have been a need for that kind of programming at the time for it to appeal so much to mothers and daughters who can watch something like that together. There aren’t that many shows about single moms in that situation which is so common in our society.”
Bledel is currently shooting the third season of Gilmore Girls and admits that Rory will be undergoing some growth and change throughout this next season. “She’s in the process of applying to Harvard which she’s very excited about. She’s also trying to figure out the situation with the two guys in her life.” Asked if she can relate to that specific situation, Bledel laughs slightly. “I’ve never been in the situation where I’ve had 2 guys chasing me at the same time and fighting over me.” In other ways, the actress identifies with Rory. “She’s a little more than a planner than I am, not to mention careful and studious, but like Rory, I have a great relationship with my mother, though Rory has a more unique bond with hers. They’re more like friends.”
Bledel says that she has a genuine affection for her character. “It’s nice to play a character for so long that I like so much, because it’s interesting to see her branch out.” And the actress is happy to continue doing the series “as long as it lasts”, further admitting that unlike most TV shows, there is no specific end in sight, no standard contract. “I? available until Rory has kids of her own, if need be”, she says laughingly.
Meanwhile her growing legion of fans gets to see a different side of her in Tuck Everlasting.