Life is short, talk fast. That’s the tagline of Gilmore Girls and it’s easy to see why. Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her daughter, Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel), drink a lot of coffee and talk really fast. And so does everyone else on the TV show. To be able to deliver their lines at the necessary speed, Graham and Patterson had to make changes to their daily lives.
Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson quit smoking cigarettes
Graham and Patterson both smoked cigarettes when they got hired on Gilmore Girls. The show took off and they pretty quickly realized to keep up with the rapid-fire dialogue, they’d have to quit smoking.
“She needed her wind, and I needed my wind,” Patterson said, according to a November 2020 interview with The New York Times.
Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls, insisted every actor on the show follow the script exactly. That meant no ad-libbing or improvising. And if an actor said a line incorrectly, they’d have to keep filming the scene until they got it right.
To make the task even more challenging, as The New York Times noted, the length of a Gilmore Girls script was 20 pages longer than other TV shows. That on top of last-minute rewrites meant the actors had to be on their toes, Patterson said.
‘Gilmore Girls’ hired a dialogue coach to teach actors to speak quicker
On set to help the actors with the rapid flow of conversation on Gilmore Girls was a dialogue coach. The show hired George Bell to run lines with actors and teach them how to up their speed.
According to the same New York Times interview, he’d ask guests to “Gilmore-ize” their language. When they gave him confused looks, he’d reply with, “Speed it up. You’ve just got to speed it up,” Bell told the publication.
Fans of Gilmore Girls will recognize the dialogue coach as one of Rory’s college professors. Bell appeared in seven episodes of the series, according to IMDb.
How Scott Patterson kept up with Lorelai and Rory Gilmore
As Lorelai’s will-they-or-won’t-they love interest, Patterson had a lot of scenes with Graham and Bledel. Ahead of the Gilmore Girls Netflix revival in 2016, the actor shared his secret to talking fast with Vulture.
“The acting challenge is to not get caught up in their rhythm,” he said, “yet not deter from the pace of the scene. That was the tricky part.”
He continued, saying that in any scene with Bledel and Graham, he had to deliver his lines right after theirs.
“I’d do it by picking up my cues and — you know, I had to be smoother,” he explained, “because they had this much dialogue [motions a big chunk with his hands], and then I would have that much dialogue [motions a small chunk].”
“It’s just the rat-a-tat-tat, no gaps, no pausing, no nothing,” he added. “They end a sentence here, and you start talking there before they end it.”
Stream Gilmore Girls and the 2016 revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, on Netflix.