Dermot Mulroney is going back to his romantic comedy roots and giving EW the first look at his newest role as a wealthy bachelor who finds love in Mindy Kaling’s Four Weddings and a Funeral series for Hulu this summer.
The actor, who’s been stealing hearts on screen with classics such as My Best Friend’s Wedding (the cast of which EW reunited earlier this year) and The Wedding Date, said he “jumped at the chance” to return to a romantic comedy, especially told across a 10-episode limited series premiering July 31.
“I’ve been in enough movies like this to know how impactful they are for people and how entertaining, so it’s fantastic to return,” Mulroney told EW. “I don’t think there are any romantic comedies on TV anywhere, so that’s why I think Four Weddings and a Funeral made like this will really turn out to be super popular.”
Not much is known about the overarching plot of Kaling’s Four Weddings series (keep your eyes peeled on EW.com in the coming weeks…), but it is loosely inspired by the 1994 British romantic comedy, in which Hugh Grant’s bumbling Charles falls in love with Andie MacDowell’s American Cassie, following their rollercoaster romance over the course of four weddings and, you guessed it, a funeral.
In the Four Weddings series, Mulroney, 55, plays a Texan named Bryce Dylan, a divorced, “super-rich” bachelor whose work takes him to London where he is “open for romance and comedy,” the actor said. Bryce will cross paths with Rebecca Rittenhouse’s Ainsley, as Mulroney described: “She’s stumbled through some romantic travails and we … wind up being good for each other against the certain odds.”
Mulroney chatted to EW about coming on board the Four Weddings train, his EW reunion for My Best Friend’s Wedding and how he sees the rom-com genre evolving.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You know rom-coms pretty well, but what makes Four Weddings different as a series versus a movie?
DERMOT MULRONEY: It was pretty different in a series, but I’ve been learning that somewhat here and there recently anyway working on series television [Mulroney recently starred in Homecoming, Station 19 and Arrested Development season 5]. It’s really fun to create the characters as you go, so I’ve been seeing scripts just one at the time and I really enjoy the process of shooting it that way. It’s a great ensemble cast so that was the biggest kick I got out of it, how fun the actors are, so plenty to praise about this show. I was just thinking, I took a couple years off romantic comedies, but came right in here fully enthusiastic.
Four Weddings and a Funeral is one of the most quintessentially British films from that era, and especially in the romantic comedy genre, it’s so British in its sensibilities. What do you think the differences are between a British rom-com and an American rom-com?
This is a wonderful mix of both British and American, and in fact, it’s more so than the film. When I watched the film again, our show differs from it in a lot of ways. The film is very male-centric, I found it even interesting to find a romantic comedy that’s all about the guy, that’s one of the things that I think made that one of the great movies, but our Four Weddings and a Funeral show works itself out much differently, much more diverse cast, I think that’s happening everywhere, but it’s more balanced in a lot of ways than a movie from a different decade.
You’re so well known in the rom-com space, were you excited or nervous to come back to the genre?
I enjoyed coming back to romantic comedies in this format because it is a different way to experience doing it. I even reunited recently with the main cast of My Best Friend’s Wedding, which was just a phenomenal experience, just the regrouping and the re-friending that we did. But I gave a lot of thought recently to how that film was made and what that experience is when it’s contained in your memory and now in this, it’ll have a whole different feel because it’s being made piece by piece, episode by episode.
You’ve been in quite a few rom-coms in your career…
Well, name them, there aren’t as many as you think!
I think it’s because I’ve watched them so many times that it feels like more.
That’s because they have that repeat-mode.
Is there any particular one you’d love to see reprised, rebooted, or reimagined?
I don’t know. A lot of people imagine what that would be like with the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding but I can’t even imagine what that would be or how anyone would do it. Without any kind of reboot in mind, I really enjoyed the romantic comedy that was Anglo-American in the way that Four Weddings and a Funeral is, which is The Wedding Date, of course, a hugely popular movie. So in some ways, this TV show reminded me — because that was such a great movie to shoot being in London and around in the countryside — for me it was nice to shoot this because it reminded me of that, which is also a very beloved movie. In this show, I can tell you that the English will have just as much fun watching the Americans being skewered as the Americans will have watching the English made fun of. It’ll be a very satisfying balance of humor for both sides of the pond.
What are you noticing in the rom-com genre that feels different as it’s revived again?
I think this show will be really revealing in terms of that, that’s another intriguing part of being involved in it at this time. Again I would say, unless I’m mistaken, there aren’t that many shows or that many movies that are actually fully a romantic comedy, so when they get it right, it works so well but I just don’t think there’s enough of them. I don’t think people can get enough of it. And then it was always hard to make in a TV format because you always had to extend it into another season and then it’s like, Sam and Diane [in Cheers], do they go together and then the show gets ruined? So there was no way to do it before and that’s why I think this is a more unique product than it seems. It’s got a familiar title, it’s a romantic comedy but I think people are going to have a sense that it’s coming at them in such a different way.