How Richard Curtis Still Influenced Hulu’s ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’
Mindy Kaling co-created Hulu’s Four Weddings and a Funeral adaptation with Matt Warburton. Tracey Wigfield, Kaling’s Mindy Project executive producer, is her showrunner for the Hulu series. Together, they developed their own take on the classic romantic comedy, in which a group of friends finds love attending each other’s weddings, and the bittersweet funeral that surprises them all.
Wigfield was on a Four Weddings and a Funeral panel for the Television Critics Association with Kaling. Wigfield shared more about Four Weddings and a Funeral movie screenwriter Richard Curtis’s contributions to the show, homages to other Richard Curtis movies and the chances of a second season. Four Weddings and a Funeral is now playing on Hulu.
Richard Curtis got ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ an extra song
Music is vital in Richard Curtis’s movies. Everyone remembers “Both Sides Now” in Love, Actually, “Ain’t No Sunshine” in Notting Hill, and “But Not For Me” in the original Four Weddings and a Funeral. So when Curtis suggested a song for the show, they listened.
“He pitched a song for the end of the second episode, and we were totally over on our music budget,” Wigfield said. “We were like, ‘But Richard pitched it,’ and they’re like, ‘Alright, we’ll write the check.’”
‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ pays homage to all Richard Curtis films
Four Weddings and a Funeral was the one that started it all, but in the last 25 years there have been many more classics. If you’re a fan, you’ll probably notice homages to Love Actually, Notting Hill and more in Hulu’s Four Weddings and a Funeral.
“We’re all big fans of the whole Richard Curtis canon and we’re hoping with our show that it would be an opportunity to, in success, pay homage to some of these moments that you love so much,” Wigfield said. “We have later in the seasons a nod to Hugh Grant walking through Notting Hill in Notting Hill and little lines and set pieces and stuff that we just wanted to infuse our show with and blatantly rip off from the man.”
“Will they/won’t they” will resolve by the end of ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’
Hulu’s Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 10 episode series. That means everything will resolve by the end. There aren’t 10 seasons to stretch it out.
“There is something really freeing and enjoyable in being able to tell love stories that just put everything out there,” Wigfield said. “When we wrote on The Mindy Project or on other shows I wrote on, you had to sort of pace it out and be like, ‘Okay, if they kiss in season 1, maybe they can get together at the end of season 2.’ But we didn’t have to do that. You just do all the moves. They’re all available to you.”
‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ gives the gay best friend his own romance
The gay best friend is a popular romantic comedy trope, from Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding to Nico Santos in Crazy Rich Asians. The original Four Weddings and a Funeral even had a gay couple, but the Hulu show will make its gay romance more than just comic relief.
“Nathan Stewart-Jarrett plays Ainsley’s assistant, and it kind of seems like this rom-com trope you’ve seen a million times before: this gay guy assistant who exists just for jokes and to ask about your lead girl’s love life,” Wigfield said. “Slowly, we have this relationship that builds between him and another character, and their love story becomes one of the central ones at the end of the show. So, that was one way that we felt like we could maybe do something that was a little bit of a twist on part of the movie.”
The British staff of ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ had to correct the Americans
Kaling, Wigfield, and Warburton moved to London to work on Four Weddings and a Funeral. They were still the out of towners though and deferred to their local staff to revise British slang.
“We had quite a few British writers,” Wigfield said. “Sometimes it was so annoying because we’d write a joke or something that has something in it, and they’d be like, ‘Oh, we don’t say that word.’ It’s like all right, well now the joke’s not funny. But it also gave the show authenticity that you totally needed.”
Will there be ‘Four More Weddings and Another Funeral?’
There was never a sequel to the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral. On television, there is more of an expectation that it will keep going. The first season will show all four weddings and the funeral and Wigfield, Kaling and Warburton intended it to be one and done.
“We really wrote it like a complete story,” Wigfield said. “Obviously, anything can be anything. You can keep telling parts of the story in a new story, sure, but we really wrote this story to be a complete, satisfying, ten episodes of television.”