Lauren Graham's Novel Approach

The endearing star of "Parenthood" and "Gilmore Girls" mines her early career for the plot of her first novel, "Someday, Someday, Maybe." Here in the present, she’s forged a unique bond with her half sister and found love with an old friend and costar    

by Margy Rochlin
lauren graham image
Photograph: Peggy Sirota

Not only is Graham comfortable being in her forties, but she’s comfortable talking about them. “My mom was very shy about her age, and I thought, I just want to go the other way,” she says. “I remember when I first got to L.A., a friend and I had a 30th-birthday party, and we wrote the number on the invitation. Some casting person was like, ‘You shouldn’t have put that number on there.’ It was still sort of the time that you could fudge it, before [the age-revealing show business website] IMDB. I was like, ‘I don’t care. Whatever.’ ”

Life with Krause is equally casual, with occasional weekends in Northern California to visit his 11-year-old son (he shares custody with his ex-girlfriend Christine King) and time to indulge in her favorite form of procrastination: making dishes from David Chang’s cookbook-memoir, Momofuku. “Our pantry looks like Korea blew up inside,” she says of her culinary obsession, which now encompasses all food from Asia. “Peter sometimes will take a bag of bonito fish flakes out and say, ‘Are we ever going to go through this giant bag? What is this even for?’ ”

For the past hour or so, dark rain clouds have been gathering in the Manhattan sky, and Graham is lamenting her decision to wear fashionable instead of practical footwear. “Peter gave these to me for Christmas,” she says of her black calfskin Hermès boots. But aside from that wardrobe choice, Graham doesn’t have many complaints. In March she began work on a movie called A Friggin’ Christmas Miracle, with Joel McHale and Robin Williams. (“I’m going to try to be in all the fun Christmas movies from now on,” says Graham, who played a sexed-up Santa groupie in the gloriously profane 2003 Bad Santa.) Then there’s the follow-up to Someday, Someday, Maybethat Ballantine has already commissioned. “She’s growing up and maturing,” says Graham of her heroine, Franny, who will next learn to navigate her way through Hollywood. The newly minted author is deep enough into this project to pull up on her iPhone a rigorous-looking chapter-by-chapter schedule sent by her editor.

After lunch, Graham plans to meet with Platt. (Later she will tweet, “Off to meet my friend Oliver Platt! #namedrop #actressy.”) Back when the two starred in Guys and Dolls, they used to sit backstage and play a mournful speculation game called “What Will Become of Us?” At the time, it was a comic way to deal with the gnawing are-we-closing-tomorrow? uncertainty that comes with being in an expensive Broadway show that was greeted with mixed reviews. But since then, Graham has decided that constantly worrying about the future robs you of the day you’re in. “I’ve spent a lot of time wondering, What’s going to happen? What’s going to happen?” she says. “I try not to allow myself to do that much anymore. I think I’ve gotten more comfortable with the unknown.”

 

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First published in the May 2013 issue

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