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Lauren Graham’s multi-year stint on Zoey’s extraordinary playlist came in handy while filming the pilot for The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. In the closing moments of the Disney sequel (premiering Friday), Graham’s unlikely hockey coach performs an impromptu ice dance that was (intentionally) awkward as well as charming. It was also almost entirely self-choreographed. « I had to learn a lot of choreography on Zoey’s playlist in a very short amount of time, so any physical lack of confidence I had … that switch was already flipped, » Graham tells TVLine . “So I just made it up. I tried to approach the number with a sense of fun and freedom … and a lot of upper body. “While she remarked with a laugh that » the feet are not quite mine « – a stunt double did the fancy footwork – the action above the waist was everything for her.
Read on while Graham looked in more detail dealt with her experiences with Mighty Ducks while teasing a handful of projects in the pipeline (including possibly one with Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls).
TVLINE | How much experience did you have in ice skating?
My education consisted of eighth grade birthday parties in Arlington, Virginia. [Laughs] I skated a lot as a kid, just for fun. That was part of what appealed to me about this show – can I learn this new skill? There was a built-in pause between the first and second episodes, but then [COVID] happened. And this break was supposed to be my intense skating boot camp, which I was really looking forward to. And then everything closed. So I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be. When we get back [for season 2], I plan to improve.
TVLINE | What about hockey – were you a fan?
I was more interested in The Mighty Ducks [franchise than hockey itself]. And I like sports in general. I live with [friend and former parenting co-star Peter Krause] who is a Minnesotan [so I have a real connection and love for Minnesota [sports]. I’m in a fantasy football league, Michael. That happened to me.
TVLINE | What?
I know. It’s all because of Peter. But the problem I always have with sports is that someone loses and that really annoys me. Even if it’s [the « other » team that loses], I find it really upsetting.
TVLINE | They clearly ignored the old Hollywood mantra of never working with children and animals. Any fear of joining a show in which the majority of the performers …
Thirteen year old? [Laughs] No. I have worked with a lot of children in my time. I have built lifelong friendships with many of them. It was a bit annoying to go into the [first] table read. I said, « Wow, everyone is 13 years old. » One of the things I’ve grown into [choosing roles] is thinking more about the bigger picture. It’s not just the part – it’s the pursuit. I was drawn to Disney as a whole. I was drawn to [only] 10 episodes [per season]. I was drawn to being a producer – and acting as a director when there’s a second season. It ticked a lot of boxes. And as a person who is sensitive to reboots, I hope the audience feels seen and respected.
TVLINE | How was your dynamic with your younger co-stars?
I hit the jackpot because the kid I’ve worked with the most is [my onscreen son] Brady [Noon] who is really funny and really cute and smart. One day when we were doing the first episode, he said, “Hey. I looked you up. People really like you. And they like the things you did! “And I said,“ Did you think I was just a lady from the street? ”And he said,“ Kind of. ”[Laughs] And then he gave me the highest compliment I’ve ever received in my entire career. He said, « I’ve worked with Sarah Silverman and you are the two funniest people I know. » I said, « You’re wrong … but thanks. »
TVLINE | Mighty Ducks shoots in like Zoey’s playlist Vancouver. But because of the pandemic, I’m assuming you couldn’t fly home to LA over the weekend, was that the longest time you had to be away from home for work?
TVLINE | How was it?
It was terrible. [Laughs] I was [Vancouver] from August 1st to December 15th. Thank goodness [Zoey’s playlist star] Jane [Levy] was down the street. And my friend Sam [pancakes] kept coming back. There’s a lot of production [in Vancouver] so I’d meet people I kind of know. But if I ever felt sorry for myself, I remembered how happy I was that they continued [shooting Mighty Ducks during the pandemic] – and that I even have a job.
TVLINE | Are there any collaborations with Amy? She said she’d like to find you a role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel …
I don’t know anything about Maisel. I wonder if it would get you out of this world to have me there. I leave that to her. But we talk all the time. I texted her yesterday. I think we’ll find something to work on together. I write a lot. I feel like the more experience I have as a writer, that this might be something we do [together], although it scares me to think about writing with or for Amy. But she was an accidental – and now deliberate – mentor in my writing, and I just think we have similar tastes and moods.
TVLINE | More books planned?
I’m working on another essay book called « Have I Told You That Already? » Which is a companion piece to my first essay book I don’t want to forget to remember. “It’s about life before and after Gilmore. You will be amazed to hear that I was working on an essay called « Boobs of the 90s, » which is roughly the year I moved from New York to LA. After addressing the bigger events and things related to Gilmore in the first book, I now think a little deeper about how I started and what it’s like to work at this age and time.
TVLINE | Were you able to play another season two cameo of Zoey in Vancouver?
No. Someone on my team [at Mighty Ducks] tested positive [for COVID in the fall] so I had to re-quarantine in the middle of production. And it just wiped out all of my days off, including all of my skate training days; Any flexibility there was [on my schedule] was gone. Hope to come back because I really enjoyed this show and love Jane. I think there is hope.
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