'It was amazing to stand there and feel that again,' he says
Just hours before the first formal presidential debate of the 2016 election, the cast of Will & Grace registered its vote.
Launching a new #VoteHoney campaign, stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reunited to film a 10-minute video debating the merits of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. McCormack, 53, chatted with PEOPLE about how the mini-episode came together – and the political cycle that motivated the show’s long-awaited return.
Who got the ball rolling on this project?
It was all [show co-creator] Max Mutchnick. He had, years ago, installed the original set of Will & Grace at his alma mater at Emerson College there behind glass for 10 years, and it was about to travel back and he just thought, “What a great time.” We’re always asked about a reunion but there were never any plans. Then he came up with this idea of sort of presenting both sides because he kept thinking all of this crazy election [news] would make a great Will & Grace episode. And so when the set became available and we were all available one day last week, we made it happen.
How was it stepping back into Will’s shoes again?
They’re expensive shoes, so it was awesome. It’s always good. It was just also very fortuitous. It happened to be 10 years since we went off the air and the day that we shot it, it happened to be 18 years to the day that we premiered. It felt right. Just standing in that kitchen, that was always kind of Will’s power position, whether he was talking or not, just standing in that kitchen and watching the goings-on. It was amazing to stand there and feel that again.
Were there any particular moments where you felt like you were at home or nostalgic?
One story I’ve told for years is that, on the last night of shooting 10 years ago, I remembered something – I went to a little box that had sat on the set and in the box were questions on little cards that Donny Osmond had asked us when we had our very first on-set interview in 1998. And at the last minute when the cameras were rolling, he threw those questions in that box. They were still there when we shot the finale in 2006, and as I stood on the set last week, I looked around and I thought, “No, it couldn’t be.” And I opened that box, and they were still there.
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Ten or 15 years ago when you were filming the show, could you have imagined this election playing out the way it has?
Absolutely not. Although once I saw how much we all looked like we did in the original series, I thought, “Oh, we should say we were incredibly prescient and shot this in 2006 knowing it would happen.” But, no, no one could have seen the insanity of this year.