Nearly a decade after the airing of the series finale, the cult classic television show “Gilmore Girls” is coming back as a miniseries titled “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” Among the mostly original cast are a few new characters, one of which will be played by Rowan University alumnus Eric Henry.
Henry will play the role of Nat Compton, a character Henry describes as “the absolute antithesis” of himself.
“He’s this miserable dude. It was fun because everyone on set knew me as this smiley, blissed-out boy,” he said.
Over a decade ago, Henry came to Rowan to study communications and philosophy. He spent his first two years studying hard in his single-person dorm, but when Henry moved in with two roommates at Edgewood Apartments, he realized his true calling.
One of Henry’s roommates, Rory Dering, was an amateur playwright, and his other roommate, Steve Stirling, helped behind the scenes as a stagehand. They invited Henry to act in some plays they produced.
“There was always a certain unbridled joy that Eric [Henry] had,” Stirling said, now a data reporter for “The Star Ledger” and “NJ.com,” who still keeps in touch with Henry. “He had this infectious personality, he was super outgoing and talkative.”
Despite finding his love for performing, Henry continued to study communications.
“I thought maybe this was just a passing fancy,” Henry said of his newfound interest in acting. “I graduated top of my class in communications, so instead of doing an about-face, I finished my degree.
After graduating from college in 2005, Henry joined a Theatreworks USA national tour of the children’s show “Junie B. Jones.”
“I did New York theater for a couple years after college, but I wasn’t fully ready to commit to pursuing theater,” Henry said.
Henry had other dreams he wanted to chase first, one of which was to travel to Hawaii. Through the Maui Academy of Performing Arts, Henry performed in puppet theater for children across the islands of Hawaii. The performances were primarily educational and based on musicals.
“We performed for kids who had never really left their home town, let alone the island,” Henry said. “They were so excited and appreciative, it felt so special.”
Three years ago, Henry moved to Los Angeles to begin his onscreen acting career. He has appeared in commercials, TV series, and miniseries.
Henry described the experience of being on the Gilmore Girls miniseries as “welcoming,” even though he was in the show for a short period of time. After nine years apart, the original cast still remained like a tight knit family on set, yet they treated newcomer Henry as part of the gang.
“What’s so cool about this role is the show is already an established entity,” Henry said. “It was so special and unique because I came into this and felt absolutely welcomed, like a collaborative member of the family.”
The four episodes of the series follow the changing of the seasons, starting with winter, then spring, summer and fall. Nat Compton will appear in the third episode, “Summer.” Henry did not give away many details about his role, simply describing it as “a new feel” for him. He also mentioned that Compton is in charge of a “Stars Hollow musical” within the show.
The whole miniseries will be released on Netflix on Nov. 25, just in time for Rowan’s Thanksgiving break.
When asked about the timely release, Henry said, “It will be super fun binge watching for the Thanksgiving weekend. So pull out your Thanksgiving leftovers, and if there’s any pumpkin pie left, go to town!”
Henry will also be appearing in “Colony,” a USA Network sci-fi series, next year. He may also land a role in the “Lethal Weapon” television reboot, to be released later this month.
Still, when asked if he felt famous, Henry laughed out loud.
“Oh, man. No, no. I’m happy with what comes,” he said. “Being out in California, I always feel a desire to know what’s next. It’s an amazing opportunity.”