As fans are eagerly anticipating the return of Will & Grace, the stars of the revival series are opening up about what it was like to come back, and how the show manages to remain relevant and honest.
Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes sat down in the stylish New York City apartment set of Will Truman (McCormack) and Grace Adler (Messing) with the Today show, and shared an inside look at the long-awaited ninth season.
"When we came to work, we were like children in a kindergarten class that all got along," McCormack recalled of the cast's immediate on-set chemistry when Will & Grace premiered in September 1998. "And that just came back instantly."
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When Will & Grace originally ended in May 2006, the story had jumped ahead 20 years, during which time the group had all drifted apart. However, for the revival series, the writers are essentially throwing that old season finale out the window and starting off on a different note.
For Mullally, who stars as the hilariously acerbic Karen Walker, the decision to toss out continuity is totally fair.
"I think you're allowed to throw that one away, because it was the series finale, or so we thought and believed at the time," Mullally shared. "But that changed, so the rules don't apply."
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The show will kick off some years after the finale, after both Will and Grace's romantic relationships have fallen apart and they are once again living together. However, it seems Grace's return to being Will's roommate will be something of a new development for the beloved pair.
"In the first episode, you learn that it's a recent thing, moving back in right after my divorce," Messing explained.
When the show premiered, it was groundbreaking for its positive and forthright depiction of gay men and women and their relationships, and it was the first primetime American series to feature two openly-gay lead characters.
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According to Hayes, who stars as the confident, outspoken Jack McFarland, the honesty and positivity in the show's portrayal of gay characters comes from showing the reality of the character's lives.
"These characters, as well as they are written, are just speaking their truth, and people were just responding to that," Hayes explained. "[Audiences] had never seen the pairing of all of these four different relationships on television. Whereas for me… I'm around gay people every day, so to me, it wasn't so newsworthy that there were gay characters on television. I mean, I understand why, but to me, it's been my normal life. So we're just sharing that part of our lives with you."
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The new season will feature a number of former guest stars, including Harry Connick Jr., who plays Grace's ex-husband, Leo. TV Line reports that Minnie Driver will also be reprising her role as Lorraine Finster, Karen's nemesis (and eventual step-daughter).
The new season of Will & Grace premieres Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Check out the video below for more on the revival, and a look at how the stars kicked off the first day of production.