Hulu series features another ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’
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