Montreal's Yanic Truesdale on playing Michel again for 'Gilmore Girls' revival
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TORONTO — The thick Parisienne accent Yanic Truesdale devised to play testy inn concierge Michel on "Gilmore Girls" wasn't a huge stretch for the actor.
After all, French was his first language growing up in Montreal. In fact, he didn't learn English until he studied at the Actors Studio in New York in the late '90s, he says.
When he auditioned for "Gilmore Girls," which recently returned for a four-episode revival on "Netflix," he had only been speaking English fluently for a year.
"So it was tricky for me because I would get the scripts and the scripts were really heavy and a lot, a lot, a lot of the words and expressions I didn't understand, so I would have to call friends," Truesdale said in a recent phone interview.
"I would have a list of questions after reading a script or my lines to clarify and know the reference of all the jokes, because if you don't get the joke then you can't tell the joke. And there was a lot of that at the beginning and for a long time.
"Amy (Sherman-Palladino), her scripts are so smart and there are so many pop-culture references that if you didn't grow up here and you didn't speak the language, a lot of it is going to go over your head."
As fans of the show well know, Sherman-Palladino created the series, which stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel as a fast-talking mother-daughter duo.
But she didn't work on the seventh and final season that aired in 2006-07 because she didn't see eye-to-eye with then-newly formed CW network.
As a result, season 7 and its ending were unsatisfying for the cast, said Truesdale. So when he heard of the idea for a revival with Sherman-Palladino on-board, he had no hesitations.
"It felt so good to reconnect with her words," he said. "She knows those characters from within."
Truesdale said he shares some traits with Michel, a hilariously pompous figure with a penchant for Celine Dion and well-tailored suits.
Michel is known as a fitness buff and Truesdale owns a spinning studio called Spin Energy in Montreal.
Both can also be edgy, he admitted.
"Michel has my impatience, my sarcasm, my dryness," said Truesdale, who lives in Los Angeles. "It's me when I'm pissed, it's me when I'm impatient, it's me when I want things done a certain way."
Truesdale said "Gilmore Girls" was his first audition in Los Angeles and his first job there.
Over the past 15 years, he's been constantly approached by Michel fans who often try to put on his accent and have connected with his "no-filter bluntness."
"That role has defined my career because Michel has been a breakout character and people embraced him from the first episode, and the press also," he said.
"If I die tomorrow morning, I have a reference as the actor who played Michel in 'Gilmore Girls.' There's a mark in the arc of my career, there's an imprint that has touched many millions of people."
While he has "no clue" if this is truly the end of "Gilmore Girls," Truesdale said he wouldn't be sad if it were.
"I'm happy. This was a nice surprise. It's a nice opportunity ... to go back to that bubble," he said.
"The premiere was literally like being at the Oscars. There were thousands of people lined up around the red carpet screaming like we were the Beatles when we arrived and it took two hours to do the red carpet, because every single outlet was there.
"So I take it as a gift. It feels like, 'Oh, it came out of nowhere and we got to do this again.'"
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