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“Twenty years ago, when we started, the thing that made NBC’s Will & Grace very specific was that it was provocative from the get-go,” Debra Messing told The Hollywood Reporter on the revival of her iconic series. “It addressed what was happening today, in pop culture, in politics, and really pushed the boundaries. Because that was in the DNA of the show, coming back 11 and a half years later, everyone knew the voice of the show, everyone knew the characters. We didn’t have to ask permission, we didn’t have to apologize.”
“Obviously now with the state of the world, there is a lot more to comment on. It feels like there’s a lot more at stake than when we began,” the actress told THR‘s Comedy Actress Roundtable.
“My very first movie out of graduate school, A Walk in the Clouds, I was tricked into signing a nudity waiver,” Messing recounted to the roundtable, saying that after asking director Alfonso Arau what angles he would be shooting her during the nude scene, he responded, “How dare you ask me to tell you what my shot is going to be? You’re an actress, it is your job to get naked.”
“I didn’t have the courage,” Messing told the roundtable, knowing that she could have said no to the scene and been fired. “I was getting scale. I was getting paid nothing. But it was my big break.”
Messing has five Emmy nominations and six Golden Globe nominations for her leading role on Will & Grace. She has one additional Emmy nom and two additional Golden Globe mentions for her work on the USA Network series The Starter Wife.
The full Emmy Roundtables will air every Sunday on SundanceTV beginning June 24 and on THR.com the following Monday. The Comedy Actress Roundtable starring Drew Barrymore, Tracee Ellis Ross, Molly Shannon, Messing, Alison Brie, Rachel Brosnahan and Frankie Shaw will air Sunday, July 1, on Sundance TV. Tune in to THR.com/roundtables for more roundtables featuring talent from the year’s top shows.
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