Why Hulu's 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' series must be on your July watchlist
The miniseries, which has been revamped and brought to Hulu by Mindy Kaling, revives and redefines a traditional romantic comedy in a contemporary sense
In 1994, Richard Curtis wrote the screenplay for the Hugh Grant starrer 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. It was the first of many screenplays the writer would write for Grant, and the film, along with its charming cast of Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas, James Fleet, Simon Callow, John Hannah, Charlotte Coleman, David Bower, Corin Redgrave and Rowan Atkinson in supporting roles, quickly became an audience favorite.
So last month, when Hulu announced that the romantic comedy is going to make a comeback as a miniseries, we were excited, to say the least, because as far as romantic comedies go, 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' redefined the meaning of the genre. The miniseries, which is revamped and brought to Hulu by Mindy Kaling, revives and redefines a traditional romantic comedy in a contemporary sense.
Maya (played by Nathalie Emmanuel) is a young communications director for a New York senatorial campaign. When she receives a wedding invitation from her college schoolmate Ainsley (played by Rebecca Rittenhouse) now living in London, she leaves her professional and personal life behind to travel to England and reconnect with old friends. But things don't go as per plan, obviously, and Maya ends up in the midst of their personal crises.
In the contemporary revival of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', 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.
Whether you're a fan of romantic comedies or whether you scorn at the genre, here is why you shouldn't miss the upcoming limited series on Hulu.
A contemporary revival of Richard Curtis' original
Curtis wrote the screenplay for the 1994 original movie 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. The movie went on to redefine the genre of romantic comedy and even directors and writers' approach to the genre. A hugely popular film, the movie became the highest-grossing British film in history at that time, earning $245.7 million at the worldwide box office. The movie also received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Grant won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. On the other hand, Scott Thomas won a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
For those ardent fans of the original rom-com, MacDowell is all set to make an appearance in the Hulu series.
A diverse cast
When adapting the movie for a limited series for Hulu, Kaling shed light on how she made it relevant for the audience today. The actress said that she incorporated the titular life events – weddings and funerals – to follow entirely new characters.
"I wanted to take the themes and the essence of the movie and apply it through my eyes of what I would like to see that I haven't seen yet. I know so many beautiful, funny, interesting African-American girls and so many handsome, hilarious British-Pakistani and British-Indian guys and I don't think anyone would put them together if I'm not going to do it," she was reported saying.
The film stars Nathalie Emmanuel and Nikesh Patel in lead roles that were previously portrayed by white actors. Perhaps the most prominent reason to look forward to what the Hulu revival has to offer is that the roles are explored in a spectrum that has never been seen before.
Kaling also knew it from the get-go that she didn't want to cast white actors – she knew she wanted a diverse couple. And so the role went to Emmanuel and Patel. "Let's be honest, 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' is one of the whitest movies ever. There weren't many of us that you saw on screen in movies of that era," the actress had said.
An ode to friendships
At the end of the day, 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' is more than a rom-com, it is also a celebration of friendships – honest connections that are formed over a lifetime. "What I really like about this show is that it’s very funny and sweet and light-hearted but it also does get very real and it examines what it means to have a relationship that lasts your entire life, what is that founded on," Rittenhouse says.
'Four Weddings and a Funeral' pilot script is written by Kaling and Matt Warburton. Kaling also executive produces the film alongside Tracey Wigfield and Curtis, Warburton, Jonathan Prince, Howard Klein of 3Arts Entertainment, Charlie Grandy, Tristram Shapeero and Charles McDougall. The series is set to come to Hulu on July 31, 2019.