Why ‘Wedding Season’ Star Rosa Salazar Looks Familiar

The new Hulu series Wedding Season isn’t what it seems. But it is the type of project star Rosa Salazar has made her calling card. The actor tends to avoid accessible mainstream projects to appear in ambitious and complex projects that won’t be for everyone. But they attempt to push the medium into deeper creative spaces, both in terms of story and technology

Rosa Salazar stars in ‘Wedding Season,’ which subverts its premise to portray a comic conspiracy thriller

rosa salazar
Rosa Salazar attends the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Screenwriting Awards at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on November 07, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. | Rachel Luna/Getty Images

Wedding Season begins with one of the oldest tropes in love stories: the last-gasp attempt to stop a wedding before the bride and groom exchange “I do’s.” Stefan (Gavin Drea) rushes into a packed church ceremony to plead with Katie McConnell (Salazar) to run away with him. After running into each other at other weddings over the summer, he is convinced she’s the one. But Katie rejects this quasi-proposal and Stefan leaves with his tail between his legs. 

He attempts to get on with the rest of his life. But Stefan is quickly dragged back into Katie’s orbit after the Manchester Metropolitan Police swoop in and arrest him. It turns out that the wedding Stefan crashed ended with the groom and his entire family being poisoned. And Katie disappeared without a trace. 

From that point on, Wedding Season uses extensive flashbacks to explore Katie and Stefan’s relationship while also pushing the story forward as the two of them travel across the UK and the US searching for the reason why they were set up for murder. The show premiered in full on Hulu on September 8. And for most of the unknown cast, it is the most prominent show they’ve been on so far in their careers. But for Salazar, it is just the latest genre-bending exercise where she is the star. 

This is the latest in a line of off-kilter projects to star Rosa Salazar

Salazar began her career in 2010 making sketches for College Humor. Once she established herself in the industry, she’s increasingly become a go-to actor for surreal and introspective stories about people struggling under the weight of their lives. 

Undone is the apex of Salazar’s work so far. She stars in the Amazon Prime show as Alma, a Mexican-American woman who believes she’s developed the ability to travel through time — or is it all in her head? Undone’s magical realism and beautiful rotoscoped aesthetic attracted viewers. But the show drew acclaim for Salazar’s portrayal of a woman in the midst of an existential crisis with nuance. Season 2 did not receive the same amount of attention, but Salazar remains excellent in the role. 

The actor covers similarly complicated terrain (albeit less successfully) in Brand New Cherry Flavor. The Netflix show debuted last year. In it, Salazar plays Lisa Nova, an aspiring filmmaker in late 90s Los Angeles. She seeks revenge on a director who takes advantage of her. The series involves a lot of twists and oddities, including witchcraft, zombies, and vomiting live kittens. 

Even her attempt at a blockbuster movie was weirder than studios tend to allow these days. Salazar played the titular character in the 2019 adaptation of Alita: Battle AngelThe combination of CGI and live-action performance was off-putting to some. But the movie does have its fans, and Salazar’s presence is one of the main reasons why. 

‘Wedding Season’ is an attempt to portray love for the chaotic journey that it is

In a spoiler-laden interview with TV InsiderWedding Season creator Oliver Lyttleton explained that the show is his attempt to show that the pursuit of love often runs on a disorienting path. 

“I always talk about how in a lot of rom-coms, falling in love is this thing that feels quite cozy and comforting, like a big warm hug,” he said. “And for me, when I’ve fallen in love, it’s almost always been a process of me feeling nauseous and sweaty and terrified and anxious. I wanted a little bit of that in there, which was again partly where the thriller and the action and the whodunnit element of it came in. Falling in love, to me, feels like being on the run and jumping off buildings and stuff like that. So as big and crazy as the show can be, we wanted that little vein of reality running through it.”

When speaking to Newsweek, Drea had a similar definition of the show’s core statement. He believes that the show doubles as a commentary about friends entering a new phase of adulthood and being unsure about their status in life.  

“Be it the couple who are engaged in planning a wedding and all the sort of fights and anxiety that causes. Or sort of trying to find somebody because you haven’t found somebody or actually being okay in being single and not wanting to ever get married and kind of understanding learning that,” Drea said. “So I think the group of friends, I feel like everyone watching at home, they’ll be able to see themselves in some version of the friends or Stefan or Katie.”

RELATED: How ‘Bojack Horseman’ Writers Created Amazon’s Animated/Live-Action ‘Undone’