On Friday, Four Weddings and a Funeralstars Nathalie Emmanuel, Nikesh Patel, Rebecca Rittenhouse, and Brandon Mychal Smith, and executive producers Tracey Wigfield, Matt Warburton, and Mindy Kaling took the stage during Hulu's portion of the Television Critics Association summer press tour to preview their upcoming romantic comedy miniseries.
The 10-episode limited series is based on director Mike Newell and screenwriter Richard Curtis' 1994 movie of the same name, with Game of Thrones' Emmanuel in the Hugh Grant role. In this version, the characters are Americans who went to college in London together, and they reunite in the city for... four weddings and a funeral. People fall in love and break up, peoples' lives get changed forever, and jokes about British society get cracked.
The movie is an iconic piece of British culture -- it was the highest-grossing British movie of all time when it was released -- and putting their own spin on it was a daunting task for the producers, who are not only adapting a movie that's beloved by millions of people, but are also American. "It's terrifying," Kaling said, "because we all love the movie so much, we respect the filmmakers so much, particularly Richard Curtis, who's an executive producer on this miniseries as well."
She said that when she and the other producers were first approached by studio MGM for the project, they didn't feel like they had much more to say because the original was "so perfect." But then she thought about it some more, and she decided that what would make it worth it was to depict the love story she wanted to see: "An African American woman and a British Pakistani man falling in love." The other producers agreed, and so they went about developing a romantic comedy with a cast of people you don't normally get to see in these roles.
One of the other relationships that the producers say is unique to Four Weddings and a Funeral is the friendship between Kash (Patel) and Craig (Smith). "I had never seen a movie where a British Pakistani man and an African American man are best friends at work," Kaling said. "And they work in finance. That is a trope that you see all the time, and it's a certain type of Wolf of Wall Street-type of situation." And Patel and Smith are so good together that you'll be asking why you haven't seen this friendship before. "The fact that the characters do not seem to have these racial boundaries that we often see as show creators on other shows was really refreshing."
The first four episodes of Four Weddings and a Funeral will be available Wednesday, July 31 on Hulu.