Can “Will & Grace” repeat its Emmy success with its highly-rated revival? During its original eight-season run the show won 16 prizes out of 83 nominations, including Best Comedy Series in 2000. All four series regulars took home acting prizes as well: Eric McCormack (Best Comedy Actor, 2001), Debra Messing (Best Comedy Actress, 2003), Sean Hayes (Best Comedy Supporting Actor, 2000) and Megan Mullally (Best Comedy Supporting Actress, 2000, 2006). That made it one of only three shows (along with “All in the Family” and “The Golden Girls”) to win Emmys for all of its main cast members. Gold Derby recently spoke with McCormack, Messing, and creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick about bringing the show back after 11 years off the air. Scroll down and click on their names below to be taken to their full interviews.
For McCormack, it was important that the revival 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 him 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.” In addition to his 2001 Emmy victory, McCormack was also nominated for Best Comedy Actor in 2000, 2003, and 2005.
Coming back to the role of Grace was not easy for Messing. “Part of me felt tentative in terms of just jumping into Grace’s skin again,” she admits. But that feeling left during the season’s third episode, which featured Messing and Mullally trapped in a shower as it rapidly fills with water, a homage to one of Lucille Ball‘s iconic comedic moments from “The Lucy Show.” “By the end, Megan and I were like, ‘Do we have to get out?’ Because it was just fun. My only request is that it wasn’t cold water.” The original run of “Will and Grace” brought Messing four Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Actress (2000, 2001, 2002, and 2006) in addition to her victory in 2003. She later contended for Best Movie/Mini Actress for “The Starter Wife” (2007).
You might think reuniting the cast after more than a decade apart would be a challenge, but “they really picked up where they left off,” Kohan explains. “It had the strange effects of compressing time, because it did not feel like 11 years had elapsed at all.” It certainly helped that they were working on the original set with most of the original crew, including series director James Burrows. “It really felt like we were just continuing, like we had taken a long hiatus. It really felt that natural and that familiar.”
Mutchnick had no idea there was such a high demand for the series to return. “We’ve written it small, and we’ve thought of it small,” he says, “and maybe that’s been the thing that’s worked for us because we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”
Click on any name below to be taken to their full interview:
Eric McCormack, who plays Will Truman
Debra Messing, who play Grace Adler
David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, creators
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