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Kirk Is in Stars Hollow, Too, for the Return of 'Gilmore Girls'
November 25, 2016  | By David Hinckley

Sean Gunn (below right) was all-in for the Gilmore Girls reunion, which doesn’t mean there weren’t a few anxious moments when it actually happened.

Gunn returns as the quirky Kirk on the much-loved show, most of whose cast has reassembled for a four-part reunion that drops Friday on Netflix and is called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

“Just as a fan, I like reunions,” says Gunn. “If the people and the material are there, why not put the band back together?

“But I was still a little nervous on the first day. It had been like nine years, so you start thinking, ‘Is it really like riding a bike?’

“Then you look around, and there’s Stars Hollow. You read the words on the page, you see the familiar people, and it feels pretty effortless.”

And that’s just for the actors. The enthusiasm level rises geometrically when you factor in Gilmore Girls fans, who have been hoping for this moment since the show ended its original seven-season run in 2006.

“There are tons of fans who are so excited about this,” says Gunn. “You become part of this universe

forever, which is great.”

Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel (both top) return as Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, the mother-daughter team at the heart of the show. Besides Gunn as Kirk Gleason, other returnees include Scott Patterson as Luke Danes and Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St. James.

The four parts run 90 minutes apiece, and as the name suggests, each part is set in a different season.

Without dropping any spoilers, Gunn says the characters will remain true to the personalities that creator Amy Sherman-Palladino gave them in the first place.

“There was some talk that Kirk might have moved away,” he says. “That would never happen. Kirk is a Stars Hollow lifer.”

That’s particularly satisfying, Gunn adds, because when he first appeared on the show back in the first season, “Kirk wasn’t even a character. I played a DSL installer, which I guess dates both the show and me.

“But they kept inviting me back for other roles,” which foreshadowed one of the many running gags about Kirk – that he lands and leaves dozens of jobs.

Gunn finally showed up as Kirk, and halfway through Season 2, he became a regular.

“The tone of the show always teetered between comedy and drama,” Gunn says, “and Kirk was at the far end of the comedy see-saw. I just did my best to carry that ball. I’m a natural scene-stealer.”

Kirk sometimes drove other characters mildly crazy, or at least made them scratch their heads, but Gunn says that added up to endearing, not annoying.

“Kirk just looks at things a little differently,” he says. “All of us have a Kirk somewhere in our lives.”

Gunn himself has had an interesting year since he was also filming another sequel, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. That film is due out in 2017 and Gunn returns as Kraglin, who unlike Kirk does perpetrate harm.

“I didn’t really think too much about the difference between those two characters,” says Gunn. “As an actor, that’s what you do, get into whatever fictional world the show is about.

“I’m just grateful to have two projects that people love so much. It’s very cool.”

What was a bit different, he says, was returning to the Guardians of the Galaxy set.

“On Gilmore Girls, except for the friends I stayed in touch with, I really hadn’t seen most of the other people for nine years,” he says. “So it was excellent to see everyone again, including the writing staff.

“With Guardians, we only filmed the first one three years ago. It was more tight-knit. It felt like a family reunion.”

By coincidence, Gunn’s next project after Gilmore Girls and Guardians is a real-life family reunion. He’s a main player in The Belko Experiment, a horror film written and produced by his brother James.

To call The Belko Experiment dark might be an understatement. A group of employees in a high-rise building in Colombia find themselves locked into a gruesome social experiment in which they either must start killing each other or be killed in large groups.

“It’s pretty intense,” says Gunn.

He also admits that it’s not the first time his brother has put him in that kind of lethal situation.

“He has always enjoyed having me get killed on film,” Gunn says. “In his first film, when I was four or five years old, he had me as a zombie. To be honest, I think he likes it.”

Shifting from Kirk to Kraglin to hunting humans reflects a rather broad range of characters, which Gunn says he enjoys.

“I really just care about the words in the script,” he says. “If it’s a good character, it doesn’t matter if it’s comedy, horror, sci-fi or anything else.”

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