They’re back! After an 11-year hiatus, Will & Grace is returning to TV and the cast admitted that nothing has changed between them. Though they have been apart for over a decade, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack spoke to Us Weekly on Saturday, September 23, and revealed what it feels like to be back on set together for the reboot of their hit show.
Messing told Us exclusively that doing the show again after its original eight-season run has been “heartwarming and thrilling and wonderful” for her. “I can honestly say it wasn’t until the night that we filmed the first episode in front of an audience that it actually hit me that we were actually doing this,” she told Us. “Immediately it felt like stepping back in time. The shoot night felt the same, the audience felt the same.”
The actress, 49, is returning to the show alongside the other three stars, Hayes, McCormack and Megan Mullally — and Messing said it’s just like old times.
“Our dynamic, our chemistry was all there and I just wanted to laugh again,” she said. “I haven’t laughed in a long time and now I go to work and every single day I laugh out loud which I took for granted 11 years ago and our entire focus is to make people watching laugh out loud and it feels good.”
Hayes, who plays Jack McFarland on the NBC sitcom, says the whole experience is like time travel: “We took 11 years off but it feels like two weeks. Time does funny things to your head,” he told Us. “It really feels like we took two weeks off.”
Hayes, 47, also opened up about his fellow cast members, saying: “They’re family. I mean Deb and Meg are my sisters and Eric’s my brother. The living room is like a sandbox and we all play in it. I think everybody’s fantasy is you want to go back in time and relive your childhood and this feels like that.”
Meanwhile, McCormack, who plays Will Truman on the show, says he’s grateful for the response the return has been receiving. “The press and the public have been so kind,” he said. “They haven’t said, ‘Why are they doing this?’ They’ve just embraced us.”
McCormack said that time has only made their bond stronger, both on and off screen. “We jumped right back into the doing of it, our friendships just picked right back up but we also haven’t been in a room, the four of us, in 11 years,” the actor, 54, told Us. “It definitely feels like time passed but in a really good way. We’re richer all of us, Seanie got married, Deb and I had children. It’s amazing to bring all those experiences and just realize it emboldens us and enriches the experience.”
When the sitcom first aired in 1998, it was groundbreaking to see a show about two gay men on television. The series still plans on tackling important topics and the actors are more than ready to bring attention to hot button.
“It’s frustrating because it’s not a fight that we can fight,” McCormack said about the current political climate. “Our show, we shoot it and it airs six weeks later so in an age of [Stephen] Colbert and John Oliver, we can’t be current but we can still be controversial. We are still a show about two gay men, we’re still in a place to make a statement our way. We’re also going to be watched by more straight America than a lot of shows. We do have a pulpit that is our own.”
Messing said she is also looking forward to addressing these topics. “That would be something that I would be extraordinarily proud of,” she told Us. “I think that what the writers did from the very beginning was set up a show that focused on current events and politics and what’s happening in our lives today and deal with it in a very sassy way and making fun of it and in doing that the dialogue had begun and as a result things shifted.”
She added: “When we were on we just did LGB, that’s it. Now we have T, I, A. We have gender fluidity. There are many things yet to celebrate and I look forward to doing them.”
Will & Grace returns on Thursday, September 28, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
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