Eric McCormack (‘Will and Grace’): Revisiting the role of Will Truman was ‘like putting on a very comfortable pair of shoes’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“It was a no-brainer. We knew we could make it happen,” exclaims Eric McCormack about the successful revival of NBC’s “Will and Grace” this past season. The series, which originally aired from 1998 to 2006, returned to the peacock network in the fall and has already been renewed for two additional seasons. McCormack’s performance as fastidious attorney Will Truman earned him four Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Actor, winning once in 2001. In our exclusive webcam interview (watch the video above), McCormack discusses that Emmy win and how returning to play Will was “like putting on a very comfortable pair of shoes.”

For both McCormack and the show’s co-creator Max Mutchnick, it was important for the revival to show Will as an older, single gay man and “explore it from a point of strength rather than apologizing.” The season showed Will attempting to date a much-younger man, played by Tony winner Ben Platt (“Dear Evan Hansen”), only to end up lecturing the young man about the sacrifices made by older generations in the gay rights movement. McCormack loved that speech because it gave him the chance “to speak to America — not just to young gay men about what they don’t appreciate — but to America about what’s changed in the last four years.”

Of course, a single Will meant having to address the breakup between Will and ex-boyfriend Vince, played by Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale. That episode “The Wedding” showed Will finding closure as he watches Vince marry someone else. “When we got to that episode,” McCormack explains, “Will needed to see him, and he needed to say goodbye.”

The series itself holds a special place in Emmy history as being one of only three shows — alongside “All in the Family” and “The Golden Girls” — in which all of the main actors won Emmys. McCormack says that he had a premonition of the sort of episode that would win him an Emmy. “When I first read the pilot, I thought to myself, ‘If I’m ever gonna when an Emmy, it’s probably going to be a flashback episode to when I come out to Grace (Debra Messing),” remembers McCormack. That third season episode “Lows in the Mid-Eighties” still holds a special place in McCormack’s heart, though the Emmy ceremony that year, which was postponed two months due to the 9/11 attacks, had a more somber feel. “It was a very different year,” McCormack recalls. “It was not a year of celebration as much as it was of private gratitude.”

As for the show’s chances at the Emmys this year, McCormack acknowledges the changing landscape of television, particularly when it comes to Emmy recognition. “Nowadays, there are going to be few network shows that are even going to be nominated,” he says. “We’ll see what happens. We’re making a show that I’m as proud of, or more proud of, than 10 years ago.”

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