Mia: One Character, Two Ways

Did you know that there were 2 actresses to play the character of Mia on Gilmore Girls?

Elizabeth Franz & Kathy Baker

Mia was the owner of the Independence Inn, the Inn where Lorelai ran to with baby Rory after leaving the Gilmore home. Lorelai started there as a maid and worked her way up to being manager. Mia only appeared in two episodes of Gilmore Girls since Lorelai was such an adept manager of the Inn! However, she had a profound influence on Lorelai’s life, taking the place of the mother figure for Lorelai while she learned to be an independent young mother (see how the name of the Inn nicely fits in with that?).

The character of Mia appeared in Season 2 in ‘The Ins and Outs of Inns‘, played by Elizabeth Franz. Mia made an appearance again in Season 7 when Lorelai, Rory and Emily went to her wedding. The actress portraying Mia in ‘Gilmore Girls Only‘ was Kathy Baker.

Since working on Gilmore Girls, Elizabeth Franz has made guest appearances on shows like Law & Order and was in the movie The Reader in 2005. Elizabeth is also a stage actress with her latest production in The Piano Teacher in 2007.

Kathy Baker may be more of a familiar face, known from her films including Edward Scissorhands and Cold Mountain. Kathy, like Elizabeth, is also a stage actress including 2007′s The Jane Austen Book Club. Most recently, Kathy appeared in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and in the movies Last Chance Harvey and Shades of Ray. She has 3 movies (two for TV) coming up in 2009.

Images: Newscom (L) Bauer-Griffin (R)

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    • RaeDae

      I knew there were two Mias, and when the episode in season 7 aired with Kathy Baker in the role, I was quite disappointed, because even though I’ve enjoyed Kathy Baker’s work since her role in Picket Fences, I thought it was wrong to recast the part. I would really have liked the chance to see Elizabeth Franz in the part a second time; she was so good in all her scenes, particularly when Mia and Emily Gilmore met and Mia stayed classy while Emily said, in essence, that she thought Mia did the wrong thing when Lorelai asked her for the job to begin with. I felt cheated when they recast the role. That being said, I wish only the best to both Kathy Baker and Elizabeth Franz in all their future endeavors — however, should there be a Gilmore Girls movie, and should Mia have a part, I hope it’s played by our original Mia!

      • Ashley

        I agree!

    • Michael Dewar

      Elizabeth Franz hands down

    • Tina

      I totally noticed that the role was played by a different actress the second time! I was disappointed, because I love the original Mia.

    • Pamela

      Both women did a stellar acting job in the role of Mia and kudos to the casting director to fill Elizabeth Franz’ shoes with Kathy Baker. So similar, yet so different. I think Kathy Baker carried it off (being the replacement) quite beautifully. They both share that Steel Magnolias quality.