In today’s TV landscape, the term “limited series” is a fluid concept (see Big Little Lies). That said, when Four Weddings and a Funeral co-creator and executive producer Mindy Kaling and showrunner Tracey Wigfield were asked at TCA if the Hulu adaptation of the beloved romantic comedy would follow suit with the popular HBO limited series and get a second season, they didn’t say yes…and they didn’t say no.
“Is that up to us?” Kaling said Friday, laughing, about the possibility of the series going beyond the “limited series” realm. “We’re still editing Episode 10!”
Wigfield chimed in saying that if the audience demanded it, a second season would be a possibility. Even so, she said they “wrote it as a complete story” that was a fulfilling 10-episode series. Whether it goes beyond that is up in the air. “Anything can be anything,” she said.
Kaling and Wigfield were joined on the TCA stage at the Beverly Hilton by co-creator and EP Matt Warburton and series stars Nathalie Emmanuel, Nikesh Patel, Rebecca Rittenhouse and Brandon Mychal Smith to talk about this new take on the film.
As a bona fide rom-com fan, Kaling (who said she talks about her love for the genre ad nauseam) wanted to present something different for the Hulu iteration of the film written by Richard Curtis and directed by Mike Newell. She admitted she was terrified to adapt it because “it was so perfect,” but when MGM approached her for the remake she knew she wanted to see a love story that is representative of her world and the friends around her.
The inclusivity of the show is front and center with a romance between a black woman (Emmanuel) and a Pakistani man (Patel). Wigfield and Kaling point out the diversity of the writers room, which included women, Americans, Brits as well as comedy and drama writers of a variety of races.
In addition, Wigfield remarks — without spoiling anything — that in an effort to update the series with more inclusive storylines, there is the introduction of a gay love story that becomes one of the central relationships. And as Kaling points out, there are “gentle subversions” throughout the 10 episodes.
“I had never seen a movie where a British Pakistani man and an African American man are best friends at work…in finance,” said Kaling. ‘The characters do not seem to have these racial boundaries — it’s really refreshing.”
As an adaptation of one of the most celebrated romantic comedies, it would be sacrilege not to pay homage to the original. The new Hulu series includes the film’s star Andie MacDowell as Rittenhouse’s overbearing Texan mom, while easter eggs are placed throughout to give a nod to the 1994 film as well as other works by Curtis including Love, Actually and a scene that pays homage to Hugh Grant walking through Notting Hill from Notting Hill.
“We were hoping with our show that it would be an opportunity to pay homage to some of these moments that you love so much,” said Kaling.
Four Weddings and a Funeral follows Maya (Emmanuel), a young communications director for a New York senatorial campaign. She receives a wedding invitation from her college schoolmate now living in London. She leaves her professional and personal life behind in favor of traveling to England and reconnecting with old friends, and ends up in the midst of their personal crises. Relationships are forged and broken, political scandals exposed, London social life lampooned, love affairs ignited and doused, and of course, there are four weddings… and a funeral.
Four Weddings and a Funeral premieres Wednesday on Hulu.