If you ask Alexis Bledel whether college was a worthwhile experience, you’d discover that without her time at school she might not have become an actress. Now 27, she started out with a focus on writing and directing. “I figured out that I was interested in acting while at NYU,” she told me while discussing her new film, Post Grad.
Unlike many recent college graduates fighting unemployment Bledel has had a fairly easy go of things when it comes to work. She landed the lead role in Girlmore Girls opposite Lauren Graham in 2000. Since then she has gone on to star in the popular Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies.
In Post Grad Bledel plays Ryden, a young lady just entering the work force and hoping to make a career in book publishing. Ryden lands an interview at her dream company Happerman & Browning, a Los Angeles based publisher – think Random House. But she fails to land the job and is forced to move back in with her family, played by a star cast including Michael Keaton, Carol Burnett and Jane Lynch.
It would be easy to think of Post Grad’s screenwriter Kelly Fremon as a soothsayer seeing how her film is set for release right in the middle of an unemployment crisis. But neither Fremon nor Bledel could have seen the recent economic meltdown coming when first creating this sentimental teen comedy.
Fremon is no stranger to unemployment. She wrote Post Grad after graduating from college and spending nearly eight months without work. Her solution – write about it. Originally titled The Post-Grad Survival Guide, the plot unfolds like a self-help book.
Director Vicky Jenson, making her live-action debut following Shrek, says of the story: “In all of the funny and painful frustration we watch this character go through, we can recognize our own issues.”
While Bledel and Post Grad co-star Zach Gilford, star of NBC’s Friday Night Lights, won’t be interviewing for a corporate job anytime soon they are familiar with Ryden’s situation. “We both definitely relate to the stress of an interview,” Gilford said after I asked him about the comparison between auditioning and interviewing. He thinks both situations are “a bit of a guessing game” when it comes to feeling sure of yourself.
“I went to this one audition where the casting director was from my hometown,” Gilford said. “We had some of the same friends.” It seemed like the old adage, “it’s who you know” was playing in his favor. But, like Ryden, he didn’t land the job. “Sometimes you just never know,” he said.
With Post Grad sure to pull in a young female audience Bledel and Gilford have some advice for those in a less than comfortable post-grad situation. “Go with the flow,” said Bledel with Gilford agreeing. “You’re not going to be able to plan out the future.”
Published by the Huffington Post on August 21, 2009