Hulu se­ries fea­tures an­other ‘Four Wed­dings and a Funeral’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY JAY BOB­BIN

Courtesy of Hulu, the time has come for four more wed­dings and an­other funeral.

Af­ter its re­cent Red Nose Day minise­quel, one of the most en­dur­ingly pop­u­lar of all ro­man­tic-com­edy movies gets a se­ries spinoff when the stream­ing ser­vice de­buts the first four episodes of “Four Wed­dings and a Funeral” Wed­nes­day, July 31. The char­ac­ters are new, but any fan of the film will find fa­mil­iar turf as the show – code­vel­oped by Mindy Kal­ing, with orig­i­nal writer Richard Cur­tis among the ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers – cen­ters on the lives of an­other close-knit group of friends in Lon­don.

The en­sem­ble cast in­cludes Nathalie Em­manuel, Guz Khan, Sophia

La Porta, Nikesh Patel (“Indian Sum­mers”), John Reynolds and Dis­ney Chan­nel alum Bran­don My­chal Smith (“Sonny With a Chance”). How­ever, the most rec­og­niz­able star may be Rebecca Rit­ten­house, who worked with Kal­ing on “The Mindy Pro­ject” (dur­ing its time on Hulu) and also was a reg­u­lar on “Red Band So­ci­ety” and “Blood & Oil.” Her char­ac­ter Ainsley’s sched­uled nup­tials bring the friends back to­gether in the “Four Wed­dings” premiere, but her busi­ness and fam­ily mat­ters help fuel sub­se­quent sto­ries.

“She is at a cross­roads in her life where she is forced to de­cide who she is, what she wants, and what re­ally mat­ters to her,” Rit­ten­house says of Ainsley. “That seems like an ob­vi­ous thing that peo­ple go through as they en­ter their 30s, but maybe it isn’t? I see so many peo­ple mak­ing big life de­ci­sions based on other peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions, with­out stop­ping to con­sider their own values. Luck­ily for Ainsley, she is truly forced down the path of self-dis­cov­ery.”

Rit­ten­house came to the se­ries as a devo­tee of the film. “I’m a big ro­man­tic-com­edy fan,” she notes, “so ‘Four Wed­dings and a Funeral’ is a movie I love. I think what we’ve done is a great love let­ter to the movie, but it is also a com­pletely fresh reimag­in­ing. Also, (the film’s) Kristin Scott Thomas is one of my all-time fa­vorite ac­tresses; I’ve watched the scene where she tells Charles (Hugh Grant) she loves him maybe 50 times, just to learn from her.”

Also link­ing the show to the movie, Andie MacDow­ell makes a guest ap­pear­ance ... not in her orig­i­nal role as Car­rie, but as Ainsley’s rather chal­leng­ing mother. “Andie is hi­lar­i­ous and vi­va­cious,” says Rit­ten­house. “Work­ing with her was a blast. It was so nice to get a chance to meet her.”

A per­sonal tragedy dur­ing pro­duc­tion drew Rit­ten­house closer to the “Four Wed­dings” cast and crew: “My mother passed away while we were film­ing, which was a very in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence, but I could not have felt more sup­ported by ev­ery­one in­volved in this pro­duc­tion. It was truly amaz­ing.”

Rebecca Rit­ten­house (left) and Nathalie Em­manuel

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