The ‘Gilmore Girls’ Casting Directors Are ‘Proud’ They ‘Got’ This Cast Member Before They Got Big
How ‘Gilmore Girls’ cast Sookie St. James
According to Vanity Fair, before Melissa McCarthy got cast as Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls, the role was meant for actor Alex Borstein. The Family Guy voice actor was locked in to play Lorelai’s best friend during pilot casting.
However, “once the series was picked up, it turned out that MADtv — where she was working at the time — was unwilling to let her go,” the publication reported. Borstein would later star in series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Amazon Prime series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
However, at the time, the Gilmore Girls casting directors, Mara Casey and Jami Rudofsky, had to figure out who would play the Independence Inn chef.
Rudofsky and Casey told the host of the podcast Gilmore Guys about first meeting McCarthy during that process.
“Back then, casting was different, and auditions were different,” Casey explained. Seeing McCarthy’s photo come across her desk was particularly memorable.
“I remember where I was, in the trailer, when I saw Melissa McCarthy’s picture,” she revealed on the podcast. “And, that whole experience.”
According to the Gilmore casting director, McCarthy’s headshot at the time was “not completely in focus, her head was off to one side,” and it was in “black and white.”
“I flipped it over and see a lot of improv and comedy,” she remembered — which Casey thought was great.
But the future Bridesmaids star would really make an impression in her Gilmore Girls audition.
“It was the first time I couldn’t get through an audition because I was laughing so hard,” Casey told Vanity Fair.
The casting directors are proud they discovered Melissa McCarthy before her movie career
The Gilmore alum was mainly excited they she and her colleague were the ones to give McCarthy — who would go on to star in huge, big-budget comedy movies, as well as a network sitcom — her first big break.
“What I feel is so special and I’m so proud of, is I feel we got her,” Casey said on Gilmore Guys. “… we got her style, her world.”
Rudofsky, the other Gilmore Girls casting director, said Sookie’s casting was very typical of many roles they filled on the series.
“We read a ton of people. Great people,” she shared on the podcast. “But then Melissa McCarthy came in.”
In the Vanity Fair interview, Rudofsky repeated the sentiment about McCarthy blowing them away.
“We read a lot of amazing women — a lot,” Rudofsky said about the role of Sookie. The casting director continued:
But then Melissa McCarthy walked in, and it’s Melissa McCarthy. She’s comedy gold, and she brought things to the character that were so inventive. Her physical comedy, everything she did was above and beyond, and that was it.
On Gilmore Guys, Casey explained that McCarthy was one of the actors on Gilmore Girls who inspired Sherman-Palladino’s writing.
“All these actors who just came in and had their own thing that Amy also responded to and then immediately was, like ‘I can write to this,'” the casting director shared. “All these people that were just for her, so much fun to write for.”