Why You Rarely Hear About Alexis Bledel Anymore - Looper (2024)


Why You Rarely Hear About Alexis Bledel Anymore - Looper (1)

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ByGiancarlo Riccobon/

Rory Gilmore from "Gilmore Girls" became a well-known character for always speaking in super-fast, hyper-caffeinated dialogue. But the actress who played her, Alexis Bledel, has always been a bit more taciturn, at least in public.

A good example came in 2010, when Bledel largely sidesteppedgossipy Seventeen Magazine questions about her childhood idols and her boyfriend in high school with single-sentence answers. She's evasive when asked questions like which "Gilmore Girls" love interest she prefers, refusing to choosebetween Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), Dean (Jared Padalecki), and Logan (Matt Czuchry).

"Jeagan?" she answered, squirming. "I can't single somebody out."

For an actress so tight-lipped about her personal life, and abrupt in her self-promotion, it makes sense that fans don't hear about her that often. Clearly, Bledel just wants to get on the set, film her scenes, and then go home. Here are some theories onwhy she doesn't seem to like the limelight.

Bledel is leaving The Handmaid's Tale

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MGM / Hulu

The most obvious reason why Bledel is going off the radar is because she's stepping down from an iconic TV role. For five years she played Emily Malek in the dystopian show "The Handmaid's Tale." But now it looks like Bledel will be hanging up her character's iconic Handmaid uniform — possibly for good, if the fifth season turns out to be the last (a serious possibility, according to Deadline).

"After much thought, I felt I had to step away from 'The Handmaid's Tale' at this time," she told VarietyinMay of 2022. "I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support."

This, however, doesn't necessarily mean fans won't get to see Emily one last time. Bledel reportedly made this announcement after some of Season 5 had already been filmed, so it's likely she'll appear in at least a handful of scenes. In fact, there are evenphotos of the set during Season 5 filming that seem to show Emily's house as one of the locations.

The Handmaid's Tale might have become too upsetting for her

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MGM / Hulu

Knowing that "Handmaid's" is bothbrutal and horrifically timely, it makes sense that after appearing on the show since its debut in 2017, Bledel wants to take a break. In the first season alone, Emily was tortured and forced to watch the execution of a woman she loves.

"I felt sick to my stomach ... playing that scene out," Bledel toldThe Daily Beastin 2018. "Thank goodness [the show is] a cautionary tale. Otherwise it would just be too upsetting."

"It's ... limited, the time that I spend actually in character. It's like a couple days a month; it's not an extended period of time," Bledel told Deadline that same year, implying that a more intense shooting schedule might threaten her ability to leave the job at home. "If I had to do that, I think I would be more challenged by the darkness of it."Bledel added that playing Emily in such bleak circ*mstances was only bearable "because it's so far removed from my reality."

But, as pointed out with alacrity by many, the gap between this fictional world and the real one has become more narrow since 2018. Events such as the January 6th riots and the overturning of Roe v. Wadeare among those bearing an unsettling resemblance to events from the show.

In 2021, producer Bruce Miller admitted as much while addressing the Television Critics Association. "When you come up with something horrible in your head and put it on television, and then hear something like it happening in the real world," he said, "it's just sickening."

Bledel doesn't like the spotlight

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Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

Alexis Bledel is such a natural at acting, it's hard to believe that she didn't always want to be an actress. But acting wasn't originally her first choice. In fact, she still occasionally has doubts about her career choice.

"I never pictured myself as an actor," she explained in a 2009 interview. "I always thought that I would be behind the scenes."

According to IGN, she had originally studied to become a writer or director. Bledel has admitted that she sometimes thinks another career path might have been more suitable for her introverted personality, but is comforted by how many other introverts she encounters among her peers. "The truth is," she told the East Bay Times, "I am comforted by the fact that a lot of actors are shy."

In any event, it seems like Bledel loves acting; it's just the promotional side of Hollywood that makes her uneasy. At age 23, she explained why she found it intimidating.

"It's almost more natural to be in character on a set," she explained. "That's a controlled environment where you know where the boundaries are. In a public situation with reporters, it's more evasive."

In that same interview, Bledel shared that she has never really become accustomed to fame; she observed, "people started treating me differently" after she became a celebrity. According to Bledel, stardom "socially affects you. It can mess you up. You deal with it ... I'm happy where I am now, because I am not terribly famous."

Most of her movies have received poor reviews

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IFC Films

If you look at Bledel's profile on Rotten Tomatoes, it's easy to get a sense that she's done better on the small screen than the big one. After all, her highest-rated movie ("Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants") only has a score of 77%, and most of her films have been certified Rotten.

In fact, Bledel's film work hasn't received a positive ranking since the 2008 sequel to "Sisterhood." From "PostGrad" to "The Conspirator," "Violet & Daisy" to "The Brass Teapot," "Parts Per Billion" to "Crypto," you can be forgiven if you aren't intimately familiar with her cinematic efforts of the last decade and a half.

Bledel's television career tells a different story. She's had steady roles in the critically-acclaimed "Gilmore Girls" and "The Handmaid's Tale," and also appeared for a little while on "Mad Men."

Nevertheless, it's always possible that many of those underwhelming movies could have left a dent in her bankability. "Jenny's Wedding," for instance – a 2015 lesbian rom-com that theAV Club described as "a movie displaced in time. And it's barely a movie"— has been listed amongthe worst movies on Netflix.

This domino-chain of film flops might explain why fans don't hear from Bledel very often — at least, not in big theatrical releases. In 2018, Bledel told Jimmy Fallon that a third "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" was on the way; they'd better hurry, because those pants might soon start fading.

Bledel joined The Handmaid's Tale because it allowed her to balance work and family

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MGM / Hulu

Alexis Bledel was likely drawn to "The Handmaid's Tale" for the same reasons s everyone else: the writing, the plotlines, the ripe potential for acting possibilities.

But most actors who choose TV over film do so because the former offers more regular hours and consistent locations, and after the birth of her son in late 2015, Bledel preferred a gig that would still leave her some time to be with her family.

"I'm not looking to overwhelm my work schedule," she explainedat the time.

As it turned out, "The Handmaid's Tale" offered the perfect sweet spot, presumably because filming a single TV season each year was more convenient for her than jumping from one film set to another throughout the year.

For some time, it wasn't announced that she had joined the cast of "Handmaid's," until after they had concluded filming on the first season. At the time, Bledel was in the media for the 2016 "Gilmore Girls' revival, and she has said since that she's thankful one series concluded before the public knew she would be in the other. "I wanted ['Handmaid's'] to stand on its own and have people fall in love with it and not be distracted by me joining the cast."

Shooting a TV show can be strenuous for her

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Although filming a TV show offers more stability than a movie, that doesn't mean it's easier. A role on a TV show means a bigger commitment for longer periods of time, which can occasionally take its toll.

"[It's] so strenuous ... a difficult, all-consuming schedule," she shared in an interview with IGN. Filming a season of "The Handmaid's Tale" could last as long as six months, according to The Radio Times. Meanwhile, Bledel told IGN that she spent even longer working on "Gilmore Girls." Shooting that show took nine months each year, which left only three months of the year for her to participate in other projects. Sometimes Bledel was too exhausted to do any acting in that time window. "[After "Gilmore Girls" Season 2,] I took my second hiatus off, because I needed the time to kind of disconnect, and relax," she explained.

Before agreeing to a role, Bledel says she wants to "make sure that it's really something that I feel passionate about if I'm going to leave home and go work" (via ET Online). She added, "I just want to love what I'm doing." So if Bledel doesn't sign on to any new projects after leaving "The Handmaid's Tale," that probably means that she simply hasn't found anything she's passionate about — or at least passionate enough to make such a huge commitment.

She has other passions besides acting

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Warner Bros. / HBO Max

While Bledel may be known as an actress, it's not her only passion.

"I went through a phase where I wanted to be an architect," she told Seventeen Magazinein 2010. " "I realized there was a lot of math involved in that so I ruled it out completely."

Bledel also considered becoming a director – until she discovered how much work was required to coordinate an entire film crew. Acting, she decided, was more manageable.

Although she's happy with her job, there's something Bledel does on the side that has nothing to with acting or film. In fact, this hobby is reminiscent of architecture, though it's an activity that involves a little less math; in her spare time, Bledel likes to renovate homes.

"It's fun for me," she told Nylonin 2015, "because it's creative and I can kind of control it." She added that renovation gives her exactly the kind of satisfaction that Hollywood can't always give her. "My job is very out of my control a lot of the time," she admitted, so restoring old homes is a nice change of pace.

She doesn't want to let fan expectations influence her

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Although Alexis Bledel appreciates her devoted fans, she tries not to get too swept up in what they think. She's not afraid to speak her mind, even if it might disappoint some of them.

When asked by Nylonin 2015 if she was Team Dean, Team Jess, or Team Logan (all love interests of Rory Gilmore), Bledel replied: "I'm not picking a team." Speculating where her character might be several years after the show ended, Bledel predicted that Rory would have "moved on from all of them," admitting that she knew this was "probably not a popular response." Still, Bledel believes that it's important to stay true to her character.

"I don't read a lot of fan mail because some of it is a little strange," she toldParademagazine in 2010."I'm conscious of what people's expectations are, what a fan would like or dislike."

However, she insists that pleasing her fans should come second to choosing a project that she's passionate about. "You need to be attracted to a role or the chance to work with a director or a script and not what the audience is going to think," she reasoned. "At least that's the way I approach it."

Bledel wants to keep her personal and work lives separate

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

For Alexis Bledel, work and life belong in two separate spheres. Naturally, she tries to keep her private life out of the tabloids, and she's been surprisingly successful at this — especially for someone who is married to another notable actor.

Bledel and Vincent Kartheiser (Pete from "Mad Men," whom her character had a fling with on the show) were married in secret in 2014. The news was announced to the public via Star Magazine more than a month after it happened.

Perhaps even more impressive, Bledel subsequently pulled off a secret pregnancy. Keeping it a closely-guarded secret among friends, Bledel managed to go through her entire pregnancy and childbirth without the media knowing. In fact, it wasn't until "Gilmore Girls" co-star ScottPatterson slipped up that word got out.

"[Bledel has] really blossomed as a woman and now she's a proud new mother and married and happy," Patterson told Glamour in 2016 while promoting the "Gilmore Girls" revival. "We're comparing notes because my son is about a year and a half older than her young son."

Only afterwards did Patterson realize his quote was the first Hollywood had heard of Bledel and Kartheiser's child, who they continue to rarely discuss in interviews. In August of 2022, Kartheiser filed for divorce from Bledel after eight years of marriage.

Why You Rarely Hear About Alexis Bledel Anymore - Looper (2024)
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