Alexis Bledel -- best known as Rory Gilmore on "Gilmore Girls" -- stars in the new film "Post Grad" (Opening this Friday, August 21) about a recent graduate who's not finding life too easy after college. Alexis discusses her new role and how it differs from Rory Gilmore and shares her experiences working with Michael Keaton and living legend Carol Burnett.

Alexis Bledel: Hi!

Mike: Hey, Alexis, how are you?

Alexis Bledel: Good. How are you?

Mike: Pretty good. The first thing I wanted to ask was if it was intimidating at all working with the supporting cast. You have Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, J.K. Simmons and Carol Burnett -- I mean, it's Carol Burnett!

Alexis Bledel: Yeah, it was amazing. I guess I was pretty nervous at first but luckily they're all such down to earth, sweet people that it was such a great experience.

Mike: What's it like working with Carol Burnett? She's beyond a legend.

Alexis Bledel: She's amazing. She's just so sweet and she's very generous with everyone. She tells stories about her days doing "The Carol Burnett Show" and people she knew back then that would crack her up. She really seems to be the kind of person who finds a lot of joy, a lot of humor and draws a lot from everyday experiences and the people around her and takes a lot of joy out of life... finds a lot of joy in life, I mean (laughs).

Mike: How would you describe [your character] Ryden? Do you think she's a little naive? She basically just applied for one job and didn't get it.

Alexis Bledel: Yeah, I think she's basically a person who had her heart set on something and I think when you go through the college experience you're sort of led to believe that your dreams will come true, you know you're prepared for anything, you have certain expectations. And when you go out into the real world and pursue those dreams your expectations are not always met. And I think that the cases where people do get that perfect job that they want -- those are the exceptions. I think, for the most part, people really have to start at the bottom and work their way up and experience a lot of jobs in a lot of different industries before they even find what fits.

Mike: Did you look at "Post Grad" as a way -- because you're well known for playing an extremely popular character on a television show -- did you look at this as a way to play someone who's quite different than Rory Gilmore?

Alexis Bledel: Yeah. I think Ryden is sort of more confident and outgoing. She makes mistakes, she's not sort of perfect or an overachiever. She kind of a relatable girl but she's (laughs) a little bit neurotic. She has this extreme tendency to plan out her life and I think, sometimes, that comes from not knowing what to expect and just wanting to control the situation. You know? I think through the course of the movie she learns you can't do that. That life throws things at you and you have to learn how to adapt and go with the flow.

Post Grad © Fox Searchlight

Mike: There's one scene that we all have lived through. The [cliché laden] speech by Jessica Bard at the graduation.

Alexis Bledel: (Laughs) Yeah!

Mike: I think the only cliché missing from that speech was beginning it with a definition from Webster's Dictionary. Did you enjoy acting opposite Catherine Reitman as the rival?

Alexis Bledel: Yeah, I loved our dynamic. It's a true rivalry. I think Ryden referred to Jessica Bard as her nemesis. And she is. They just have an extreme competition all the way through school and they kind of mess with each other. In this story I think the chips are down for Ryden and Jessica feels like she's on top so she really kind of rubs it in (laughs). It makes Ryden really feel her success and, in a way, they really drive each other because it's so angering to feel like you're not the one on top. I think it really propels Ryden forward in a way.

Mike: There's so many great actors involved in this movie. What was your favorite moment on set?

Alexis Bledel: There are a few. I loved shooting the scene with Michael Keaton where he's lecturing me about the neighbor. As it was written it was such an odd little piece of advice. He added to it so much; he's ad-libbing all of these hilarious things and I just couldn't keep it together. I think I ruined a few of those takes but that was really fun. And the scene where [The Office's] Craig Robinson is selling Carol Burnett the casket. Just having amazing comedians like Craig Robinson and Fred Armisen and Demetri Martin, having them all on set, each for a day, was just incredible. They would be able to improvise so much and be able to crack up the whole crew.

Mike: Demetri Martin was kind of a surprise, they're not really advertising that he's in the movie.

Alexis Bledel: Yeah. Though, he's in the trailer for a little bit. But, yeah, he's got a great scene.

Mike: I picked out a question from a reader. (Kathy from Houston) wants to know what you miss most about home [Houston]. She mentioned that she assumes it will not be the August weather.

Alexis Bledel: Yeah, the August weather is terrible (laughs). I miss my parents. Mostly my parents because most of my friends have moved away from Houston, now. So, when I go back I mostly just go to see them. And I miss the southern hospitality, it's kind of unique. It's something unique I miss about living in the south in general living mostly in L.A. and New York. Yeah, just the friendliness of people -- and the really good barbecue.

"Mike's Pulse" is a column written by transplanted Midwesterner and current New Yorker Mike Ryan. For any compliments or complaints -- preferably the former -- you may contact Mike directly at
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