Mindy Kaling wrote Hulu’s miniseries adaptation of Four Weddings and A Funeral, premiering on the streaming service this summer. Kaling was in a Conversation With Nancy Meyers at the Produced By Conference, and Meyers asked Kaling about her adaptation.
Kaling may be the biggest fan of the movie directed by Mike Newell and written by Richard Curtis. It was her admiration for the film that made her create an entirely different adaptation.
“I was approached [by MGM] about doing an adaptation, a miniseries adaptation of his movie, which I think Richard Curtis’s movie is a perfect comedy with the best cast,” Kaling said. “At first I thought, ‘Why would I ever do it?’ I was thinking about it and I thought, well, you know, if I was going to do this, because I love the world, I love the world of the movie that makes you fall in love with London, it’s about friendship. That part of the movie I really did love. I thought if I can do this in a way where I wouldn’t have a lot of comparisons to the original source material, which is perfect, and if I did it in a way through the lens of Mindy Kaling, I would think that would be an interesting project.”
Hulu’s Four Weddings and a Funeral has a diverse cast and presents a romance between characters from different cultures. Nathalie Emmanuel, Nikesh Patel, Rebecca Rittenhouse, John Paul Reynolds, Brandon Mychal Smith, Zoe Boyle, Sophia La Porta, Patel and Guz Khan star in the series.
“The leads are an African-American woman and a British Pakistani man,” Kaling said. 10 hours will be different than two also, but will still feature the requisite weddings and funerals.
“There’s 10 episodes, four weddings, and one funeral in the course of the 10 episodes,” Kaling said.
Kaling also shared some production hurdles she overcame developing the series.
“I also knew it had to shoot in London, so I moved there with my baby,” Kaling said. “It was one of the hardest things. We shot in London in the winter. There were three or four hours of daylight which i stupid to do. That has challenges.”
Four Weddings and a Funeral premieres July 31 on Hulu.
Kaling then asked Meyers about “The Nancy Meyers Kitchen,” which comes up in many reviews of Meyers’ films, like It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give. Kaling suggested that male writers tend to focus on the kitchens because “they can’t relate to the central problems of your protagonist.”
Meyers asserted that her films aren’t misunderstood “by the people that go to them, which is all that really matters.”
The writer/director is familiar with the frequent comments about the upscale decor in which her characters tend to live.
“I don’t love when a critic or a journalist will pick up on that aspect, because they are missing the boat,” Meyers said. “They’re missing why it works. It’s a cheap shot and it’s never done to male directors who make gorgeous-looking movies. With me, it’s an easy thing to go after. I don’t love it, but I’m not going to change how I see things.”
As a counterexample, Kaling cited Wes Anderson movies, where critics compliment the design as an asset to the film.
“If I watch The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is a beautiful film, it’s not a pejorative towards the movie,” Kaling said. “And I love that movie. But even in my own career, if my clothes are too good, we’re supposed to be desperately unglamorous while making a movie as a woman, that that is showing vulnerability, which I think is incorrect.”
When asked how they continue to challenge themselves as creatives and producers, Meyers announced she was taking an indefinite break.
“I’m not challenging myself at the moment,” Meyers said, confirming she is not writing anything. “I’m not, I’m taking a break. [For] a long time. A couple years. The business has changed in a way that is somewhat unrecognizable to me. I’m not sure how much I want to do it, but I don’t know. I’m conflicted. I will not start writing because once you start, you’re in. I am challenging myself, by the way. This is very challenging. It’s very challenging at my age to not do what you’ve done since I was 20 years old. This is how I’m challenging myself.”