The bedrock foundation of Gilmore Girls was, obviously, the relationship between Rory (Alexis Bledel) and her mom, Lorelai (Lauren Graham). It won countless Emmys, prompted a revival over a decade later, and ended up becoming a pop culture classic precisely because of how good that dynamic was. But it was also so captivating because of the goofy, eccentric Stars Hollow townsfolk who orbited their lives. Rory's best friend Lane Kim (played by Keiko Agena) was one of those characters. As it turns out, however, the actresses who played Lane and Rory weren't exactly besties off camera.
Many Gilmore Girls fans saw Lane Kim and Rory Gilmore’s friendship as perhaps a manifestation of something from real life. Scott Patterson, who played the one and only Luke Danes, has been revisiting the iconic series on his I Am All In podcast. On it, he asked actress Keiko Agena about her friendship with Alexis Bledel outside the show. Her answer was a bit of her surprise:
I wish we had more of a friendship. That was probably a lot to do with me not making as much of an effort as I should have. But I also think I was, worried is the wrong word, but they worked so many hours that their off set time, I thought, was so precious to them and I didn't want to insert myself into that time of their lives. I don't know how you felt about that, but that's part of why. Especially with Alexis and Lauren, I think they had such a tough schedule.
Disappointing though it may be for Gilmore Girls diehards, it isn't always the case that on-screen chemistry leads to a real friendship. Look no further than the Fast and the Furious beef between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson or Kim Cattrall’s absence from the rebooted Sex and the City. At least from what Keiko Agena is saying, there isn't any bad blood between the real-life Lane and Rory. There just simply weren't any legitimate bestie vibes.
On his podcast, Scott Patterson seemed equally as flummoxed by Keiko Agena’s assertion that she wasn't best friends with Alexis Bledel (who has since starred in the likes of The Handmaid’s Tale) beyond the eye of the camera filming Gilmore Girls. Because from his view, the dynamic between Lane and Roy appeared “effortless” and “great,” thanks to the two of them. He asked if they had “clicked right away,” allowing for the fictional relationship to translate somehow. Agena said:
Well, Alexis is such a wonderful person and I do think that as soon as I met her as a person, you just recognize that she's an intelligent, special individual. I think there's part of me that felt protective of her right away, as a fellow actor and someone that recognizes how unique of a person that she is. So maybe some of that was something that is just instinctual, and I think that probably shows in how our characters related to each other – that we liked and respect each other right off the bat.
So, there you have it. Lane and Rory’s friendship was purely instinctual and a credit to the actresses’ abilities to perform no matter what their real friendship was like off camera. It actually makes their performances on Gilmore Girls even more compelling, not less so, in my mind. (In a strange twist of fate, certain on camera rivals from the show actually have a pretty decent rapport off camera.)
Still, many Gilmore Girls fans saw Lane and Rory as hashtag friendship goals for a reason. This is just a necessary reminder, though, that work and play don't always mix. Fans can revisit the awesome, on-screen friendship by streaming the show on Netflix.