Fandemic Tour Houston was a roaring success this weekend as fans arrived on Sunday morning for a chance to meet some of their favorite stars, as well as attend their hour-long panels, which included a Gilmore Girls reunion with Milo Ventimiglia and Scott Patterson!
More like a conversation than a Q&A panel, the affection and respect in the room for the much anticipated Gilmore Girls reunion panel was palpable. Scott played the ever lovable (and very grouchy) diner owner, Luke Danes, and Milo played his teenaged, troublemaker nephew Jess Mariano. The two stars spent much of the panel complimenting one another and reminiscing about their shared Gilmore Girl scenes, both on screen and off.
During the panel the two went back to their Gilmore Girls beginnings to discuss the audition process. When it came to the role of Luke, Scott shared that he honestly thought he had no chance of getting the role. At that point, most networks wanted “a name,” someone famous and recognizable. He shared that he had the “dumb courage” of an actor who absolutely nailed the audition, but knew they were going to go with “a name,” so it didn’t matter. Little did he know just a short time later he’d be getting a very different kind of call. Luke was originally a guest star role, but Scott had such an on-screen presence that it’s no wonder he quickly became a series regular.
The audition experience was a little different for Milo, who went in to read for Jess and also nailed his performance. He got the call that he was going to be a series regular, and said he immediately called his mom, who was a huge fan of the show. “I told her ‘I had an audition today.’ She said, ‘oh, that’s great. What show was it for?’ And I told her ‘Gilmore Girls.’ She started to say she was sure it went well, and I told her ‘I got the role.’ She asked ‘Oh, what episode will you be on?’ and I said, ‘I’m going to be a series regular.’ And there was dead silence on the line,” Milo shared with the audience. He was also a big fan of Scott’s work, but when he got to set he felt as if he was in grad school due to the fast-paced nature of the show. “I was lucky to have Scott as a scene partner to learn from.”
A fan asked the pair what their favorite scenes were. Scott shared his top three. His first is in the Gilmore Girls Netflix revival, when Luke has the flower and sits with Jess, and they have a deep conversation. “Getting to really act with Milo for that scene was great,” said Scott. Second, the iconic one-take scene of a frustrated Luke pushing Jess into the river after the two argue. Finally, Scott also loved the scene where Luke takes a sledgehammer to the apartment wall, hands it to Jess, and says, “That’s your room, have fun.” Milo’s favorite scene was also one between Jess and Luke. Jess had been aggravating Luke (shocking, right?) who finally yells, “You gotta go!” and Jess leaves. “We were speaking at such a high rate,” recalled Milo. “In that scene we got to let the impact of what was said really land, and show the impact of those words.”
Milo also spoke about the revival and the uniqueness of Gilmore Girls, describing it as trying to capture lightning in a bottle. It was tough for them to go back, because even though it’s the same cast and the same writers, it’s a different crew and a different world. Trying to recapture that same energy from so long ago is challenging. “You get these moments and can’t repeat it. You can’t recreate it,” he elaborated.
Another interesting fan question asked each to name the best quality from the other’s character. Milo immediately answered that “Luke’s best quality was patience. Jess was just such a little sh*t,” Milo laughed. And Scott’s opinion on Jess’s best quality? “Well you played the role,” Scott said to Milo, “so it didn’t matter what a pain in the a** the character was. I just kind of liked being with you for scenes.”
Things got deep when a fan asked what they learned about themselves through their characters. “The people are more important than the characters,” began Scott. “Milo is more dear to me than his character. He’s an extraordinary person and that’s how he can play that character. He can show charity through Jess and Jack, he’s coming from an informed place. I like Milo so much that I learn from him. He’s got lessons for me, and I’m 20 years older.” He continued to talk about Milo’s determination and preparedness while on set, while also being kind to everyone, which elevated not only the atmosphere on set but the show as a whole.
When asked about Luke’s reaction to the revival’s surprise ending Scott answered, “Luke is at this very moment opening a giant can of whoopa**.” Regarding what Luke and Lorelai’s lives look like post revival, he believes that the two would be trying to have kids.
Milo also discussed This is Us during the panel, sharing that what he loved about the pilot is that it’s a show for everyone, about everyone. “It didn’t matter how old you were or how young you were or where you were from, what you had or didn’t have. It didn’t matter.” Regarding Jack, Milo’s favorite quality is that he’s a real life superhero. He views Jack as a character that everyone can look up to no matter your path in life. Scott added that he knew it was going to be a good show when he heard that Milo was working with Dan Fogelman, the show’s creator.
One of the most memorable moments on This is Us was Jack putting his hands on Randall’s face to calm him during an anxiety attack. In season three, we learn the origin of the “just breathe” mantra comes from Jack’s time in Vietnam. During the panel, Milo shared that though the first time he does it scripted was with a teenaged Randall, he realized that he had been doing that same thing, or versions of it, with all three kids in different moments earlier in the show. He added that it’s a very parental thing to do, so it felt natural for Jack. Milo gave credit to the writers for tying that on-screen action from season to season, and eventually giving it an origin story.
Fans cheered for the two at the end of the panel, and it was clear that Gilmore Girls still holds a place near and dear to many people’s hearts. Will we ever know the father of Rory’s baby? Milo swore it’s not Jess’, and Scott had a few (comedic) guesses, but sounded willing to return to Stars Hollow should the offer ever arise.