Liza Weil on Portraying a Mean Girl: It Didn’t Feel Good

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Liza Weil, who currently appears on How to Get Away With Murder, spoke to Cosmopolitan about the daunting prospect of returning to play Paris nearly a decade later, expanding on some of the thoughts she shared in this previous article.

In some way, she was always in there. Paris sort of still lurks around. But I was trepidatious for sure. I was relieved once I read the first episode of the revival. It was very magical opening that script and going through those pages. Paris is so alive in that writing. That was very comforting.

When she began playing Paris in the original series, she found it difficult to relate to such a mean girl, but that changed over time as the writers filled out her backstory and went deeper:

In season one, it was hard. I do remember feeling like, oh gosh, what is the value of portraying a mean girl on television? I’m not sure if it was helping anybody. It didn’t feel good to do it. Once we started learning more about Paris, it really made sense to me very quickly.

As she’s gotten older, she has found it easier to identify with what makes Paris tick and now finds aspects of the character in herself:

I think I can get a little passionate about things that I believe in and maybe that can be a little intense for people. And I think a lot of that stuff comes out of the need of wanting to belong, and being insecure and uncomfortable. Like all of us, she figured out who she was and became less apologetic about it.

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She was asked whether Gilmore Girls was a feminist show:

No. I don’t think so. I think that Amy is a really smart, funny, eccentric person and that’s the world she came up with. She’s a woman. She wrote the people she wanted to see on TV. I don’t think that was in the zeitgeist at the time as it is now. I don’t think we thought of it that way.

On the social media aspects that didn’t exist when Gilmore Girls originally aired, she said:

I don’t know if I would’ve been able to handle being aware of myself or watching myself or seeing the things people were saying about the show at the time. I don’t think I had the skill set to separate those things. I have to do it now for How to Get Away With Murder, it’s kind of a Shondaland mandate, which I totally understand.

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Liza revealed that her favorite Paris episodes were ones where she had to study or learn something new such as fencing or the Israeli self-defense system of Krav Maga (brutally practiced with Doyle in their apartment).  She also got messengered a DVD one day to prepare for the Founders Day Punch episode where Paris loiters on the sidewalks of Stars Hollow asking for change:

There’s an episode, I think it’s season six, the Founders Day Punch episode, where Paris gets drunk and is having sort of a mild psychotic episode in the town. That’s all based on this scene from the John Cassavetes movie that Amy really loves called A Woman Under the Influence…It was incredible just to do a Gena Rowlands impression. She’s one of my all-time favorite actresses ever.

She was asked about her favorite Paris quote:

‘Tie your tubes, idiot’ for sure. It’s up there. There’s a lot of them, but I remember that one so clearly. It really makes me laugh all the time.

paris-geller-tie-your-tubes

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3 thoughts on “Liza Weil on Portraying a Mean Girl: It Didn’t Feel Good

  • November 16, 2016 at 9:34 am
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    Paris has always been one of my favourite characters! Looking forward to meet her again!

    Reply
  • November 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm
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    I love the whole cast, but I think my favorite thing is Liza talking about Paris.
    I can’t wait for this revival.

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  • November 19, 2016 at 7:41 am
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    My favourite character is definitely Paris :)

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