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THE WEDDING DATE

About The Production
For the cast and creators of The Wedding Date, the consensus is unanimous: a wedding is a surefire setting for movie comedy. "Even under the best of circumstances, weddings are stressful, funny, unpredictable events,” says Wedding Date star Debra Messing. "Nothing ever goes the way you want or expect. Add the family dynamic into the mix and there are unlimited sources for laughs.”

Messing's co-star Dermot Mulroney agrees: "Not everyone gets married, but it is kind of a universal event. Pretty much everyone has been to a wedding, so it's easy to relate to all the craziness.”

Holland Taylor, who plays Messing's mother in the film, comments: "Weddings are a time when everyone is so anxious for things to go well that any little hitch can cause mass hysteria. Depending upon your vantage point, that can be quite amusing.” It was this "pressure cooker” environment that drew director Clare Kilner to the story to begin with. "I'm very interested in the public and private sides of people and how much they're prepared to show or mask in a given situation. I thought a wedding would be a really fun place to explore that kind of dichotomy.”

The director was also attracted to the film's "dysfunctional family element” and explains, "I enjoyed the opportunity to present all the comic and dramatic contradictions within such a diverse group of relatives. Besides, almost everyone is pretending to be something they're not, which always carries great potential for humor.”

In the film, Messing's shy and heartbroken Kat Ellis is "pretending” the most, and it's what excited the actress about the role. "I loved the idea of an ‘everywoman' hiring an escort to help her create an illusion of a more exotic romantic life than she really has,” relates Messing. "How everyone in Kat's world responds when she shows up with Nick [the escort] on her arm—because he's clearly a very handsome, dashing, sophisticated man—was really fascinating to me. Suddenly everyone looks at her with new, accepting eyes just because he's standing next to her. That kind of judgment is very real, and also very interesting to observe.”

Grounding the film in reality was key to Kilner's direction of her actors. She notes, "I talked to the actors from the beginning about keeping their performances very truthful and not to overplay the comedic moments. I said, ‘Be honest and the comedy will follow.'” Kilner's unique style of direction was greatly welcomed by her cast.

"She is really an actors' director,” enthuses Messing. "Clare felt the characters' relationships would make the whole thing funny so, throughout, she had us improvise and play tricks on each other. She'd give us these ‘little jewels' to work with to make you think differently about a situation. Her spontaneous and experimental approach was really rewarding.”

"Clare had us making up things and filling in our characters' back stories along the way,” recalls Dermot Mulroney. "For me, it turned out to be a great way to get to know Debra, both as a person and as a co-star. I think our chemistry really shows up in the work.” Says Amy Adams, who plays Messing's self-centered sister Amy, "Clare worked hard to make sure we understood all the relationships, how we relate to each other, what we have in common and what we don't have in common. She liked us to discover new things every day and gave us the freedom to try scenes different ways, but always made sure we stayed true to our character's basic nature—good or bad!”

And for Jack Davenport, who portrays Edward Fletcher-Wooten (a.k.a. "the groom”), he was surprised and pleased with Kilner's direction. "There is always the temptation with this kind of story that you would work out what function your character serves in the whole and then just plow ahead as faithfully as you can. But Clare was always keen that we deviate from that as often as possible. She gave us an enormous amount of room to grow.”

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