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It wasn’t the backwards baseball bat. It wasn’t the uniform flannel shirt. Not even sitting on the Luke’s Diner set could do the trick.
“I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel like him, and I knew it,” Scott Patterson recalls to The Hollywood Reporter.
Instead, when the actor was desperately seeking a way to tap back into his inner Luke Danes on his first day of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, it was a stroll around Stars Hollow that did the trick.
“I took a trip down memory lane. I just remembered the scenes I did here, how I felt here, kept walking, kept walking and then I got it. I came back in the diner and I was fine,” he says. “[It] took a little, I had to start the engine. (Laughs.)”
It’s understandable considering it’s been nearly a decade since Patterson hung up his hat and closed up shop at Luke’s Diner for good. But the time has to come (finally) to put a fresh pot of coffee on.
On Nov. 25, Netflix will release the long-awaited four-part revival to the family drama. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life picks up nine years later and sees nearly the entire cast return to reprise their roles from the original WB-turned-CW drama. (Perhaps) more importantly, the new iteration welcomes creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband and executive producer Dan Palladino back into the fold. The two left over a contract dispute at the end of Gilmore Girls’ sixth season and the show was canceled a year later in the wake of poor reviews and falling ratings.
“I was very eager to do it,” Patterson said about signing back on. “They sent me three [scripts] right away and I read them very, very quickly. I called Amy and said, ‘Wow, wow, wow, wow.’ And then I eagerly awaited the fourth and when that came, I called her again, and I said, ‘F—! Wow!'”
Patterson’s role in the revival comes just as his other career is heating up. In addition to roles in series such as Aliens in America, 90210 and The Event, Patterson has been recently been focused on his turning his lifelong passion for music into a second career. His band Smith Radio, which mixes rock, blues and punk, will release its debut single “Haha” just two days ahead of the release of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. However, Patterson said there was no hesitation about reprising his best-known role.
“I was really happy to come back because I’ve done a lot of jobs since and they just… this was always going to be the best job I ever had,” he says. “These were always going to be the best people that I was ever going to work with in television — not that I haven’t worked with some great people after the series ended — but this is the unique thing that it is. This is an iconic show.”
Just as Gilmore Girls was an iconic show, so was the show’s central couple of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Luke. After spending much of the last season of the original series estranged, the couple appeared headed for a possible reconciliation in the series finale. So once the revival officially got the go-ahead from Netflix, questions immediately arose about their relationship status.
“That’s a very important creative decision: Where is he now? Where are they now? Are they together? What’s going on?” Patterson says. “There’s a lot of ways you could have gone and I think they could have been equally affective, but I think they chose the right one, obviously.”
By now, most viewers know from the photos and the trailer released that Luke and Lorelai are — phew — very much together in the new installments. While Patterson may have needed a few minutes to properly get back into character, he says tapping into the Luke and Lorelai of it all was decidedly easier.
“It was like no time had gone by. We just have the greatest rapport and the greatest chemistry,” he says. “I think we’ve probably done the best work together that we’ve ever done because we were given the freedom to go there.”
However, not everyone from the original cast was able to come back. Most notably, Edward Herrmann, who played family patriarch Richard Gilmore, died in late 2014. The revival, subsequently, deals heavily with the aftermath of Richard’s death.
“The passing of Ed Herrmann really deepened everything,” Patterson says. “I think we all felt a little bit of regret that this hadn’t happened sooner. Not that it was anybody’s fault, but that it hadn’t happened sooner and then he could have been included but, you know what, he was included in a very touching moving way and in a very respectful way.”
Although some plot points — such as Richard’s death and Luke and Lorelai’s relationship status — have since become widely known, many other details regarding the new chapters have been kept under tight wraps. Not only was there increased anticipation about things like Rory’s romantic future and, above all, Sherman-Palladino’s final four words for the series, but the cast and crew had to keep everything under wraps in the social media age of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that had barely just begun when the series went off the air in 2007.
The secret to keeping the surprises under wraps? “Just being careful and reading the Netflix memos like, ‘We will kill you if these things get out,'” Patterson jokes. “But I share their concern because it is a different world and look, they’re working very long hours and they’re working very hard to promote this and they want to do it their way and they should have the license to do it this way. They know what they’re doing.”
But once these four new chapters and those four final words come out, what will the future hold for Gilmore Girls? Patterson is optimistic.
“It’d be nice to do it every year. Maybe every two years, do a three-month thing, do four more chapters. It was easy to do,” Patterson says. “It was really rewarding and people got a sense that, if this was going to be the last thing, that we now have some closure.”
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres Nov. 25 on Netflix.
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