Before Rory Gilmore, it was Lane Kim who dropped a pregnancy bombshell in Stars Hollow. And like her onscreen mom Mrs. Kim, Keiko Agena was shocked about her character’s story arc.
“It was so sudden. Everything that happened in Lane’s life — especially at the very end — was really quick. She’s fighting with Zack and then all of a sudden she’s engaged to Zack and in an instant she gets pregnant after having sex for the first time during their honeymoon,” Agena, 44, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “It does make it harder later on because I think story-wise it’s hard for Lane. I wish she was able to do more with music.”
Lane — who hid much about herself from her religious mom — found out she was pregnant with twins in the show’s final seventh season. She’d stay back while bandmate Zack (Todd Lowe) went on tour with Hep Alien.
The couple stayed together in Netflix’s 2016 revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but Agena is unsure about their future. “It’s so funny because my relationship with Lane is very reactive. It’s reactive to the written material that’s given. So in a weird way I’m an audience member to her and I know that sounds strange because I play her but I’ve always been someone to discover. It’s almost like a gift that’s been given and just being surprised and enjoying that part of it,” she explains. “The strange thing about being an actor is it’s almost a little dangerous to invest in an idea. I think once you invest in the idea of where someone is going then you’re not fully open to being able to play the opposite of that if that’s what the character is going to do.”
Lane and Zack may have never happened, though. After all, she was once smitten with his former bandmate Dave Rygalski, played by Adam Brody. In real life, Brody left the series after he snagged the role of Seth Cohen on The O.C.
“I think they would have invested more time in it — just because Dave Rygalski is Helen Pai’s actual husband’s name and they are still married,” the 13 Reasons Why star tells Us. (Pai was a coproducer of the show.) “I definitely think they would have. Maybe they would have explored that story line a lot longer.”
For more, read the rest of her Q&A in our Now and Then series:
Us Weekly: What was one of your favorite scenes with Emily Kuroda?
Keiko Agena: There is one where we do a tiny, tiny shot of us having a drink with each other. And to me that was such a sweet moment because it was a changing of a dynamic between the two of them. I think it was after a long fight. That was really sweet. And also — just because I love drama — I loved when she finally kicked me out of the house. When I walk into the room and it’s just all completely upended where all the secret compartments are exposed. Emily is such a great actress that getting to do that scene with her, even though so short, was so moving.
Us: What did you think of Rory’s [Alexis Bledel] pregnancy bombshell?
KA: I was at home on my computer. When the episodes came out there was no formality. I rushed [to my computer] like everyone else. They kept it very under wraps on set so nobody knew. And I didn’t want to know. I kind of wanted to go through the whole experience like someone else who loves this show. And I was just shocked. I didn’t know. I think there were rumors back and forth but I never bought into anything. I wasn’t invested in any of it so when it happened I did not see that coming.
Us: What story line would you have loved to do?
KA: I think selfishly I wish Lane and Paris (Liza Weil) had more of a relationship because I just think Liza is so funny and so great and so intense. I wish they had more of an interaction. And I get it — it makes more sense that they are sort of separate parts of Rory’s life and separate friends but that’s definitely something selfishly as an actor I would have liked.
Us: Were you Team Dean (Jared Padalecki), Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) or Logan (Matt Czuchry)?
KA: Oh, I’m totally Jess! I don’t know how other people perceive it but to me I felt like they were always the closest because of similar passions. Interests and being able to talk about books and things like that. I always felt like Jess’ biggest problem was Jess. He had problems being arrogant and not being able to open up. He really cared about her. I just always felt like that was true. And I’m not great with messy. I think that’s also the other thing. Logan’s relationship with Rory — especially in the revival — it’s just so messy! And Dean was married and it was so messy. That whole part was hard.
Us: Do you think Rory and Jess end up together?
KA: Yeah! I think they do. I don’t know what Stephanie Webber Amy [Sherman-Palladino] would have written in the end but I think so. I always thought that eventually they would end up together.
Us: What was your favorite Kirk [Sean Gunn] job?
KA: I remember he was working at Doose’s Market and he told Miss Patty [Liz Torres] that she couldn’t eat the fruit. But I really loved when he was playing Jesus in the festival. I feel like that was my favorite of all-time. Although, when he shot his movie and then the fact that we got to see another version of that in the revival — that was so fun.
Us: Jared had once said that Kirk’s black and white film was the best.
KA: Yes! Love that. I love all the stuff that Kirk did in the show. And the fact that he was only going to come on for one episode and then they just loved him so much that he became such an integral part of the show.
Us: Did you take any props home?
KA: This is from the original series — but I have some red shoes. Whenever you didn’t see my feet I would ask for the same shoes because they were so comfortable. I have my sweater. When Lane worked at Luke’s Diner a lot of times she would have the same sweater with her apron on. So I have that as a memento. And then I have a bunch of scripts. I still have scripts in my garage!
Us: Is it crazy to see Alexis as a mom now?
KA: It was really sweet when I saw her on set because she had just given birth a few months prior to when we were filming. She’s a very private person so there’s not like a flood of pictures or things like that publicly. She is just so sweet and I love that she gets to experience that in her real life and that Rory will be able to have that too. It’s strange but beautiful.
Us: Do you think there is a chance for more episodes?
KA: I think the chance is very tiny but of course I love the show. I think Amy’s brilliant and I would definitely be on board with anything that they wanted to do. But I also feel like it’s certainly up to Amy and Dan [Palladino] if they have a story they feel needs to be told because I think they were really the heart of the town and the whole creative process. I don’t think a story would be good if it wasn’t something they felt had to be told.