When Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life brings the Gilmore women back to our screens later this month we’ll see grandmother Emily getting to grips with widowhood and loneliness following the death of her husband, Richard.
But actress Kelly Bishop experienced a little real-life loneliness on the set of the cult classic without her screen partner, Richard Herrmann.
Herrmann – who played Lorelai’s father Richard Gilmore – died after a battle with brain cancer at the age of 71 on New Year’s Eve 2014, long before he could bring his beloved character back to TV screens.
“Edward and I, not only did we enjoy working together, we were friends. We became friends very quickly when we started the show back in 2000 and we maintained our friendship after the show was over,” Bishop told RadioTimes.com at a Netflix event in New York.
And that firm friendship, forged day to day on set in the palatial Gilmore family home, was the one thing Bishop really missed on the set of the Netflix revival. “There was just such a comfort and a fondness and a friend,” Bishop said, explaining that she had shared a trailer with her co-star during the show’s original run.
The whole cast are close – co-star Lauren Graham is “like my daughter”, says Bishop, “one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and I just adore her” – but inevitably, working without her on-screen husband made the Gilmore Girls reunion particularly poignant for Bishop.
“[Lauren Graham] was off, sitting there with her laptop writing another book, so I didn’t have her to really talk to, Alexis is pretty quiet and shy and doesn’t talk anyway, so I was just kinda standing around, swinging my arms, not knowing what to do” she told RadioTimes.com, “so I was lonely without him, I must say”.
Bishop hopes that the revival does justice to her acting companion.
“I had scenes in cars and diners and other places – that was not so difficult, but it was being in the house or being in the dining room without him.
“It was so sad because I know he would have loved doing this and there was just sort of an empty feel. There was a space where he was supposed to be, so he certainly was with us, and he’s very prevalent in the show so that will make everybody happy I think, who’ll miss him, but I’m sorry he couldn’t be with us.”
As for Emily Gilmore, well, Bishop’s confident the newly denim clad Gilmore grandmother (Did you see those jeans? Bishop said she had great fun filming in them) will learn to cope without her husband.
“Through the course of the four chapters, she manages to find a sort of… maybe ‘serenity’ is the right word. She starts to get herself back into focus” she says, “but at first she’s really way off”.
“I hope the fans like it as much as they’re expecting to”, she added. “That’s the only thing that’s scaring me; They’re getting so excited, they go, ‘Ooh!’ I hope you’re all good with this. I think [you] will be, because I liked it.”
Gilmore Girls: A Year in The Life will be available to stream on Netflix from November 25th