Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) has it all figured out… or so she thinks. Her plan is to do well in high school, get into an amazing college and land the publishing job she’s always dreamed of. However, when things don’t go the way she envisioned, she’s forced to move home and deal with her rather peculiar family, played by Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett.
Things start to look up until her best friend, played by Zach Gilford of “Friday Night Lights,” falls for her creating more drama, and Ryden realizes it time to come up with a new plan.
ComingSoon.net attended a press conference with the stars of Post Grad, Alexis Bledel and Zach Gilford, to talk about their new film.
Question: Did either of you have to move back home for any reason?
Alexis Bledel: I’ve not personally had that experience. I feel I’ve experienced setbacks where I’ve had to regroup and start from scratch, which I think is similar. Not moved in (though).
Zach Gilford: I was fortunate enough not to have to move home. Both of us pretty quickly got our first job so…
Bledel: We’re spoiled.
Gilford: It’s still early. I could have to move back home next year.
Bledel: Things could go terribly wrong.
Q: One of the things the movie’s about is the danger of overplanning life. Are either of you overplanners?
Bledel: I’m really not. I really go with the flow, I think.
Gilford: I think I’m the exact same way.
Bledel: I’ll make a list so I don’t forget something but I don’t stick to one plan with blinders on the way Ryden does.
Gilford: A bird in the hand’s worth two in the bush. I can plan all that stuff but if something’s presenting itself to me, I’m like, alright, I’ll do that.
Q: What was it like working with Vicky Jenson, a first time live-action director?
Gilford: She’s very specific.
Bledel: You can tell she’s an animator because like at one point she was telling me how to hold my hands (she motions with her arm) a certain way and to move as if she were animating me. My idea was to do everything exactly the way she said to try and be consistent with whatever she had mapped out in her mind. I didn’t want to stray from it if she had a vision.
Gilford: The upside is that she does have a vision, and she knew what she wanted. She never seemed like she was unsure. It was like she knew. She had it in her mind.
Q: That seems like too much direction; did you mind?
Bledel: I don’t mind it. I go with the flow. I really wanted to kind of make the process work for everybody and I’m really quite adaptable so it really didn’t bother me.
Q: Alexis, this was your first real adult role-someone out of college. Was this something you specifically were looking for-someone who isn’t in high school?
Bledel: Yes. And who wasn’t quite so sweet. She makes some mistakes. She’s a bit blind at times, especially with Zach’s character, Adam, and she forgets they’re supposed to get together. She’s not perfect, which is what really attracted me to the role. She felt very relatable.
Q: Is there a danger the character could be unlikable because of some of the things she does?
Bledel: I think they worried about that. They edited it in a way where you still like her by the end of the movie. For that reason, some scenes were cut out of the movie for that reason.
Q: What did she do?
Bledel: It was little tweaks. She was a little more careless with Adam’s emotions to the point where the audience would have thought she was just mean. So they really wanted it to be she was distracted and focused on her stuff, and she was oblivious.
Q: How did you get the job? It was during the writers strike?
Gilford: Yeah. I got really lucky timing wise with it. The part opened up at the last minute and I was in Texas, and someone convinced them to let me come in and read. So I flew in and read with Vicky and Ivan was there and the casting directors, and then they said, we’ll have you read with Alexis, and then after that they let me have it, because they were starting filming three days later.
Bledel: That’s not why (you were cast).
Gilford: I’m like, I guess you don’t have anybody else.
Q: Did they ask if you could play guitar and sing?
Gilford: Yeah. They asked me if. They said do you have a guitar? Do you know how (to play)? And I said, yeah, I know how but I’m not a guitarist by any means, but in high school I knew how to play every Dave Matthews song. Ever since, I pick it up once a year. So they were like, you can play guitar? Great!
Q: Did you have a great rapport?
Bledel: He thought I didn’t like him.
Gilford: That’s just my insecurities. It’s awkward. It’s really awkward. They shove you in a room and say, you need to charm this person and have great chemistry with her in order to have this job. So you’re like, OK. So every little thing (you’re paranoid about) like, she rubbed her nose. Maybe that means she doesn’t like me.
Bledel: It’s a bit forced. You can’t force chemistry. You just have to read the scenes and I think it worked out for the character.
Gilford: We’re buddies now.
Bledel: We’re buddies.
Q: Your character, Zach, struggled with academic pursuit with his art, music. How did you feel about your character’s decision and what advice do you have for college students?
Gilford: Go to law school. I don’t know, I mean, it’s the struggle pretty much everyone goes through.
Gilford: I went through a very similar situation when I finished school I could go teach high school or I could go and be an unemployed person trying to be an actor. I opted to do the latter. (Adam) is going to New York to go to law school. That’s a great place to be an independent artist. I think he made a good decision. It’s such a personal thing. I don’t think there’s any advice to give. Whatever makes you happy, whatever you’re doing.
Q: Did you realize at the time it was going to be this topical?
Bledel: We had no idea it was going to be so topical because we shot the film before the economic crisis and recession. We thought it was topical at the time, anyway. But now kind of more than ever. I hope people can relate to it and are entertained by it and can enjoy the comedy of it.
Gilford: I agree. It’s something everybody goes through in a way when they finish school and now not having a job-everyone’s thinking about it so maybe that CEO who lost his job will relate to Alexis not finding a job out of college.
Q: Did either of you have a plan B? Or other interests?
Bledel: Definitely. I never have been in a situation where I had to think of something. I’m interested in any of the humanities and photography and writing and any art, really, so yeah, I’d have a hard time choosing because I have so many interests. I can’t really pick on. But I guess when you have to, you just choose something, right? (laughs)
Gilford: It was a plan B so much as I grew up working with kids and teaching and different aspects, so after a while (if I hadn’t become an actor) I probably would have done that. When I was in New York while I wasn’t really working I was teaching an after-school program. I think I would have found my way more heavily there to the point where it was my career.
Q: Were you teaching acting?
Gilford: No. I have no desire to teach that. I don’t know anything about it. There was this after-school program where I was going to make a movie with the kids and we ran all over–it was in Queens–and I had this camcorder with a group of fifth graders and seventh graders, and we ran all over the school and the neighborhood filming stuff.
Bledel: They must have had a blast. Where’s that film now?
Gilford: I don’t know. It was stressful. I don’t know. Trying to get these kids with no attention span to do anything for more than five minutes, it was harder than I expected.
Q: What came out at the end?
Gilford: Me literally on a camcorder and making it on my laptop, which wasn’t even a Mac. It was my college laptop. It had six gigs of memory.
Q: Have either of you fallen for a best friend? Would you recommend it or tell people to avoid it?
Gilford: Yeah. It stresses you out a bit. I have my heart on my sleeve. Maybe it’ll work out next time, or not. It was like high school.
Bledel: No. I haven’t fallen for a best friend like these two characters are best friends. But guy friends, yes.
Q: In the movie, your family is a little crazy, what is your real family like?
Bledel: No, my dad is not that bad. He’s very creative. He’s always playing music in the living room. There’s a concert going on at all times so that’s unique. He kind of has projects the way Walter does. He can basically build anything so he’s always working on something on the house. He might be on the roof when you don’t expect him to be. He’s always attempting new projects so in that way he’s like (Michael Keaton’s character). He doesn’t drive me completely insane, though.
Post Grad hits theatres on August 21.