‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’: Yanic Truesdale on Michel at a Crossroads

Oriana Schwindt
Variety

“Gilmore Girls” is returning to TV via Netflix on Nov. 25, with four 90-minute episodes titled “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.”  Variety spoke with cast members about their favorite “Gilmore” memories and what we can expect from the new episodes.

Yanic Truesdale was still in his 20s when he took on the role of Michel Gerard, the disdainful French concierge at Lorelai Gilmore’s inn. “It was my first acting job in the States,” the actor told Variety.

Michel remained a cipher for much of the original “Gilmore” run, but fans are about to get a much fuller picture of the man. In part because of Melissa McCarthy’s more limited schedule, Truesdale’s beloved concierge character Michel will have a far more expanded role in the four parts, and we’ll delve much further into his personal life.

“At first I was like, ‘What is he doing there? French guy in a small town, mad at everybody?’ But he’s someone who needed a change, and stumbled into this community,” Truesdale said.

And Truesdale found a community of his own soon enough. The actor, who is Canadian on his mother’s side and American on his father’s side, was on a trip to South America early on in the show’s run and realized exactly how big a deal the series was when he was recognized by locals. “It was a whole new thing,” he said. “The international culture is the American culture — no matter where you go, they see those movies and shows.”

But though the rest of the series was shot on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles, Truesdale’s first day on set was in his native Canada — they shot the “Gilmore” pilot in Toronto. Or rather, a small town outside Toronto, the name of which the cast can’t quite seem to remember. (It’s Unionville.)

“I was very impressed and intimidated — I had worked in France and Montreal, and this was just a different level,” he said. “We don’t have that kind of money. To walk into a studio with a history like Warner Bros. … One of the stages where I was shooting (in Burbank) was where ‘All About Eve’ was shot.”

Of course, after the original series wrapped its seven-season run in 2007, all the sets were destroyed, meaning the “Gilmore” crew had to rebuild everything for this go-round. According to Truesdale, they nailed it.

“It was kind of surreal,” he said. “That first day back it was like going back in time 15 years, in some ways.” But, he added, the sheer amount of time that has elapsed adds texture to the “Gilmore” characters. “Michel is perhaps a little wiser,” he said.

As for what exactly these episodes hold for Michel, Truesdale will only reveal this: “He’s at a crossroads, personally and with work. Things need to change in a big way, now.”

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